Winnebago County 2020 budget faces $4.8 million deficit, board members consider balancing options

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The Winnebago County Board is facing a $4.8 million deficit.

Thursday, finance committee chairman Jaime Salgado, D-12, presented a budget with cuts and a tax levy increase.

The memo included nine different potential reductions or revenue increases. Among them, reducing the county’s health insurance employer contribution, cutting student loan assistance to staff members and taking vacant position salary dollars from departments.

Raising the tax levy would create about $750,000 in revenue, but some board members want to avoid the increase.

In total, those adjustments only make up about $4.1 million of the shortfall, still leaving $700,000 in deficit.

Moving forward, board members will consider the nine reductions presented and may need to look at further cutting funding to services used throughout departments in the county.

“I think we did a little more creative planning in the last few years that helped us make some cuts,” said former Chief financial officer and county administrator Carla Paschal. “We’ll keep looking at things but within a weeks time that was the best we could do.”

“We’re not quite at that balanced budget yet but I think actually with the questions I asked, it shows that we’re getting closer,” said Winnebago County board member Daniel Fellars, D-19. “I’m happy. I think we still got like $700,000 to kind of figure out how we’re going to get there.”

“Do we eat into the reserves?” said Salgado. “Or do we want to actually go in and try to look at areas where we need to cut. That’s our current scenario. I feel pretty confident about the 4.1.”

Budget discussions will continue at next week’s finance committee meeting. The fiscal year 2020 budget is laid over until the September 26, 2019 meeting.

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