The October 2017 Meeting focused primarily on the FY2018 Budget proposal. As discussed on other posts, this year's budget was not an easy undertaking. Cuts were necessary to prevent the County from increasing taxes, and the most fair means to do this was to ask all departments to share in the pain equally. Not all of my colleagues agreed.
An amendment was proposed by the Democrats to utilize the reserves to restore all funding to the Judicial Public Safety budgets. During discussion it was found that the numbers in the proposal were not accurate. The major problem with this proposal was that it did not include a means to refill the reserves after raiding them to prevent the situation from reoccurring the following year - essentially kicking the can down the road. This proposal guaranteed a tax increase for FY2019.
I could not support this amended budget for several reasons:
- I do not like to vote on anything with this large of an impact on the present and future operations of Kane County without having the actual document in front of me to review prior to the meeting. It was quickly determined that the numbers were not accurate. All funds were discussed in abstract with no specification at the 11th hour.
- As previously stated, we cannot use the entirety of our reserves to fill an operational hole, because it will only serve as a bandaid for a single year guaranteeing an operational deficit for all future years. It would amount to using a one time cash infusion (such as winning a $1,000 raffle) to pay your mortgage payment. How will you pay makle the mortgage payment the next month? Or the next year?
- The Democrats stated clearly that they wanted to raise taxes. I continue to oppose this concept as our residents our taxed enough already. This proposal would have guaranteed a tax increase in 2019, but even with the increase allowable by law we still would not be able to fill the budgetary holes this proposal would create. The County has statutory limits in how much we can increase taxes, as unlike Cook County we are not home ruled.
- The proposal called for lowering our contributions to FICA and IMRF (pensions). This could jeopardize our bond rating, which would increase our capital costs.
The majority of my colleagues agreed, defeating the amendment on an 8-14 vote. The subsequent vote to place the budget (unamended) on public file for 30 days was passed 12 to 10.
The County Board also appointed Steven K. Messerli to replace retiring Metra Board Representative Manny Barbosa. Thank you for your service Manny, and best of luck Steve!