Lawrence M. Walsh
At today’s Will County Board meeting, County Executive Larry Walsh presented his budget proposal for the 2016 fiscal year. The budget plan totals $482 million and includes a corporate fund of $194 million and special funds of $288 million.
“This year’s budget is balanced and reflects Will County’s strong financial base,” Walsh said. “The budget I am recommending outlines the next steps we must take to keep our county moving forward on a sound fiscal path.”
Walsh noted this year’s budget proposal meets all of the County’s debt obligations and continues to fund the required Other Post-Employment Benefits, or OPEB, at $2 million for 2015. He also recommended the county contribute one million dollars to the OPEB in 2016 due to the significant reduction in the county’s accrued liability of $44 million.
“The recent revisions to the county’s health insurance plan and ongoing wellness programs have resulted in a significant reduction in the long term costs to the county,” Walsh said. “This is a testament to our county employees working together with our management team and others to improve our health care programs.”
Walsh reported that the County continues to maintain an AA+ bond rating due to the county’s commitment to fiscal responsibility. He noted that the rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s continue to commend the County on our stable fund balances, controlled expenditures, long term planning, and strong fiscal policies.
“I am proud of the cooperation from our elected officials and department heads who have worked hard to live within our means and still continue to advance critical projects,” he said.
Walsh noted that the FY2016 budget again includes a five-year road and capital plan to address current and on-going capital needs and identifies dedicated revenue streams to fund these projects.
“Transportation investments remain the key to a successful future in Will County,” Walsh said. “With the current projects outlined in this year’s budget, we must be responsible in our spending to ensure a good transportation system, safe and efficient county facilities, and a successful county government we can all be proud of.”
Walsh also noted his continued support to construct a new judicial facility, but questioned the lack of specifics thus far on funding this massive project.
“I understand the safety concerns, along with the many inefficiencies that exist in the existing court house,” said Walsh. “However, I have serious concerns about where the funding will come from for a new courthouse. I am confident that the answer is out there, but we will need to work together creatively and thoughtfully to address our needs and the funding that will be required.”
The draft budget will now be reviewed by the County Board who has the next two months to approve a final budget before the start of the new fiscal year on December 1, 2015.