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Local News

Kendall County Board OKs tentative FY21 budget with $115,620 deficit

UPDATED 4 P.M. WEDNESDAY, OCT. 7:

YORKVILLE – Kendall County Board members approved the fiscal year 2021 budget with a deficit of $115,620, with the hope that number will dwindle before final approval later this year.

The Kendall County Board voted, 8-0, to approve the tentative budget and for that tentative budget to be posted for 30 days before a final approval during their Tuesday, Oct. 6 County Board meeting. County Board members Audra Hendrix and Tony Giles were absent from the Tuesday meeting.

County Board member Matt Kellogg, who also chairs the county's finance committee, has said some of those eventual budget adjustments could include the county clerk's office. However, that office has been busy with early voting starting late last month and it's unclear what cost differences there may be for the office amid the COVID-19 pandemic with expanded vote by mail.

"I have a couple of conversations that are taking place to close in on making that a balanced budget," Kellogg said Tuesday. " ... I'm pretty confident that we'll hit zero by the time we approve final budget."

Final budget is expected to go before a County Board vote next month.

The update comes after County Board members voted, 8-0, to approve the budget as presented during their Thursday, Oct. 1 Finance Committee of the Whole meeting. County Board member Tony Giles was not present for that meeting or the vote, and County Board Chairman Scott Gryder was not present for the vote but attended that meeting later.

Kellogg had said the deficit amount is closer to having the budget balanced than the county previously has been – but the county doesn't have a balanced budget yet.

"There are a couple more conversations to have," Kellogg said of the budget deficit on Thursday. "If anybody else has any more ideas, we can post this budget and then, before we vote on the final budget, we can get there, if we can."

According to budget documents, some of the changes made to the county budget on Thursday include putting a facilities management position, which would help facilitate some bigger county projects coming up for the county's courthouse and jail, back into the budget. Those changes also include taking out a proposed lobbyist position to help advocate for the county at the federal level.

Kendall County Administrator Scott Koeppel said the county would have expected to use the federal lobbyist for water supply issues and to help secure federal money for the proposed Metra train line extension into the county.

"Those are the two main goals of the federal lobbyist," Koeppel said.

County Board member Audra Hendrix had said on Thursday she initially hesitated to agree with removing the federal lobbyist position in the budget, mainly because of the water supply issue. She said she believes that's an important expense that the county needs to find a way to pay.

"I guess what my concern is that, sitting on the Northwest Water Planning Alliance, I can tell you that, [with] the costs that are coming down the pike for us for water, we need someone there to make sure that we get a huge lift on that," Hendrix said on Thursday.

Kellogg had said the county still has the state government lobbyist on its payroll. He had said the plan is to keep them, since the lobbyist has been helpful in securing state funding within the county.

Kellogg had said some fund transfers were made to help lower the budget deficit amount, which was at $670,098 before the Thursday meeting. He said Kendall County Courthouse circuit clerk salaries expenses also were lowered because of some grant funding that could be used to help pay for those salaries.

Kellogg had said other matters that will be considered in lowering the deficit amount include possible election cost changes with the COVID-19 pandemic new normal. He had said the county is seeing more revenue coming in from state income tax and local use tax, which includes online sales, than originally anticipated amid the pandemic, but the county is still trying to be conservative on those estimates.

"We haven't seen the drastic decline that some counties have," Kellogg had said. "We don't have a lot of the entertainment industry or things that are going on that have been affected most by COVID-19. There are small businesses and people that have definitely been affected, don't get me wrong on that, but as a whole for the revenues outside of property tax, we haven't seen the hit that other counties have."

Kellogg had said he also wants county residents to keep in mind that the county is not going to be taking the CPI, or consumer price index, for its tax levy this year. He had said the county has taken that action for multiple years in a row now and it remains to be seen how sustainable it is to keep doing so.

Overall, Kellogg had said, residents should not expect property tax increases specifically coming from the county's fiscal year 2021 budget.

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