The McLean County Board on Tuesday approved next year’s leaner budget, shedding staff to help offset lost revenue caused by the long-awaited state budget agreement.
County Administrator Bill Wasson said the budget pressure this year is similar to what happened during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009. The county faced a $1.5 million budget gap, due largely to losses in tax revenue that were negotiated this summer in Springfield as part of the state budget. That included a new 2 percent administrative collection fee on the county’s sales tax revenue.
"This was primarily about a change in the flow of funds from the state of Illinois to local governments. So I would say it’s just as tough (as the Great Recession)," said Wasson.
In all, 21 county employees are accepting early retirement incentives. Wasson said six other workers will be put into lower job classifications because their current jobs are being eliminated.
The size of the roughly $9.5 million tax levy is the same as last year.
The McLean County Board also wants more accountability from the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council.
Board members approved a resolution to create an agreement about how the EDC reports results, information and expenses to local governments that support it.
Board member Erik Rankin said he's not happy with the current level of transparency.
"I'd like to see a budget. I don't believe that we should give money, taxpayer dollars, without that information being disclosed to us," said Rankin.
Wasson said the EDC is willing to provide more information. The issue attracted bipartisan support among board members. Some board members also expressed doubts about the effectiveness of the annual One Voice lobbying trip to Washington.
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