Winnebago County board lays over budget

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Tonight the Winnebago County Board votes to lay over the official proposal for the budget.

The Finance Committee has already presented to the board a budget that takes cuts from almost all departments in the county. Tonight the entire board had a chance to review and discuss that recommendation.

The county right now is facing a nearly $8 million deficit, and the County Board Chairman Frank Haney says that since 2005, the county has spent $8 million from reserves. County board members all agree that this level of spending is not something that can continue. While some members are frustrated with the layover, others say it is worth it if they are able to come closer to solving the budget deficit.

"The easy way to do it: We could approve a deficit budget. That would be the easy way to do it. But it'd be just like the state of illinois does it - you kick the can down the road. So with a deficit budget, we'd be borrowing money to pay wages and to pay salaries and to pay for services, and that makes no sense at all," says County Board District 2 Representative, Jim Webster.

The finance committee's recommendation includes a total of five-million-eight-hundred thousand dollars in cuts. It also includes recommendations for increasing revenue, such as increasing the consumer price index. The recommended budget can be found on the county's website at any time.

Next Thursday, all board members will be reviewing the budget again and presenting their proposed amendments. September 28th is when leaders expect to vote on the new budget.