Board members struggle to solve deficit

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Winnebago County Board members are still working to come to an agreement on the best way to solve their nearly $7 million budget deficit.

The first was to reduce cuts to the Sheriff's Department by $1.8 million, which would bring the $4.3 million proposed cuts down to $2.5 million.

The second was to reduce the cuts to the other 7 departments by 50%.

Both of those would then require use of reserve funding to make up for the reduction.

The third amendment would have removed $170 in new growth taxes from the proposed budget.

All three of those amendments failed. Some board members and county employees are continuing to clash on the amount of cuts certain departments can handle.

"The income has decreased, the outcome, outgoing has increased, so it's a collision course. There is no more money," says Winnebago County Board Member, Gary Jury.

"I understand we have a budget deficit, I get it. We're not saying we can't work with it, but $4.3 million is a lot of money. I'm disappointed by the process, and I'm disappointed by the assumptions that are made out on the floor without facts backing them up," says Winnebago County Sheriff Department Deputy Chief of Patrol, Dominick Barcellona.

While the Sheriff's Department is facing the largest cut, there are 8 departments in total that will be affected if the proposed budget is approved without amendments. Those include the recorder of deeds, probation, the county sheriff, the states attorney, the circuit clerk, the circuit court, the coroner, and the public defender.

The county has spent $18 million in reserves since 2005. They say they now have a remaining 3 months-worth of cash balance left in their general fund budget.