Creating a personal budget is never an easy task. There are always competing interests and unknown variables that come into play. The same is true when it comes to local governments drafting and coming to agreement on a fiscal plan for the upcoming year. Year after year, compromises must be made and partisanship must be put aside to keep the wheels of government moving forward. And so, after six long months of work and numerous public meetings to deliberate the most appropriate tax rate to levy and how best the board should proceed, the Will County Board has approved a balanced $170.4 million corporate fund budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Additionally, the board voted to provide property tax relief for residents in establishing next year’s levy. The owners of average priced properties will see a $15 reduction in the county’s portion of their property tax bills.
Board Chairman Jim Moustis of Frankfort had this to say about the budget process, "Will County continues to tighten its belt in order to weather the economic downturn, and this budget is a reflection of that. As has been the case for several years now, this budget was tough and cuts were necessary. I know that households across our county are making the same types of cost saving decisions, and we are no different. Nevertheless, we will continue to provide a high level of core services to our residents.”
$1 billion dollars. That is how much property values have declined in Will County over the past year. The average property in the county declined nearly 7 percent in value. In 2010, the county saw property decline by approximately 5 percent. It's a big and significant number because it factors into the levy dollars the county collects when taxing property. Plummeting property values could cause local governments to increase levies to maintain revenue or make cuts to keep their budgets balanced. These decisions are never easy and require elected officials to work together closely during the budgeting process.
Minority Leader Walter Adamic of Joliet offered these words on that process, “Thanks go to everyone that worked on this year’s budget. It’s never an easy task, but we need to have government move forward even if it’s not all that we hoped for. In the end, we need a budget to function and provide vital services to our residents, and we will continue to do that better than most other counties in the coming year.”
The new budget took effect Dec. 1 and is available for review on the county's website.