Lawrence M. Walsh
At today’s meeting of the Will County Board, County Executive Larry Walsh presented his 2018 budget. This new $551 million budget is balanced with a property tax rate of 1.5% lower than 2016.
“I am proud this year’s budget meets all of our debt obligations, contributes additional dollars towards our Other Post-Employment Benefits fund, and dedicates funding for Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund accelerated payments,” Walsh said. “Will County continues to be fiscally responsible with our taxpayer dollars and ensuring we are providing the highest quality services while also maintaining a strong cash reserve in our corporate budget.”
The budget proposed by Walsh reflects the impact from the state budget and a projected reduction of $2.4 million in revenue. The corporate fund, which funds general operations of county government, is $197 million and the special fund, which is restricted for specific purposes, is $354 million. Walsh’s proposed levy includes $2.1 million in new property and $1 million in Consumer Price Index. With these figures included, Will County could still have a property tax levy that is 1.5% lower than the 2016 tax rate.
In addition, Walsh is proposing dissolving the Public Building Commission due to previous consolidation of maintenance staff and the County Board assuming more direct oversight of the construction of the Public Safety Complex and new Courthouse. He said this move would improve transparency for county government and remove a line item on residents’ tax bill.
“We are proud of the good work of the PBC members and staff on important projects such as the River Valley Justice Center and the ADF (Adult Detention Facility),” Walsh said. “I thank them for their service but it is time to move forward in eliminating duplicative services and improve our efficiency.”
“Will County has maintained an AA+ bond rating for several years,” said Walsh. “We have been recognized by national rating agencies for our stable fund balances, controlled expenditures, long term planning, and strong fiscal policies. This is a true testament to the fiscal responsibility of Will County over recent years.”
Walsh acknowledged the continued demands on county resources, departments, and services as Will County continues to grow. He noted challenges remain ahead from the impact of the state budget revenue reduction. Will County is expected to lose 10 percent of local government funding and a decrease in the personal property replacement tax.
“Year after year, we ask our elected officials and valued employees to do more with less,” he said. “We are blessed with dedicated employees and I want to thank and commend them for the outstanding job in providing these critical services.”
The FY2018 budget includes a five-year Road and Capital plan which recognizes both on-going and future capital projects, allows for vehicle and equipment replacement, and identifies dedicated sources to fund these projects in 2018.
The draft budget will now be reviewed by the County Board who has 60 days to approve before the start of the new fiscal year on December 1, 2017.