County Board approves balanced budget

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- County Board members vote 12-8 to approve a budget that includes $4.3 million in cuts to the Sheriff's Department

One amendment to the budget cuts was passed by the board tonight. It brings the cuts to the State's Attorney budget down to only $200,000 and the Public Defender budget cuts down to $150,000.

All other cuts, which total over $5 million, were approved. Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana would not give a comment this evening, however, he was clearly upset by the outcome of tonight's vote.

Caruana has said he planned to cut 87 employees if the $4.3 million in cuts to his department were to pass. County Board members expressed mixed feelings about tonight's result.

"We need to focus on serving the community with the resources that we have, not the resources we wish we had. There's a lot of good ahead for our county, for county government, and I know that to be true," says County Board Chairman, Frank Haney.

"Rockford and Winnebago County are not getting safer. Jobs aren't coming back. Home values aren't going up. So it's absolutely crazy to me to think that we're gonna take $4.3 million away from the Sheriff. It blows my mind," says County Board Member, Eli Nicolosi.

The 8 departments facing those cuts include the Recorder of Deeds, Probation, County Sheriff, The State's Attorney,
The Circuit Clerk, The Circuit Court, the Coroner, and the Public Defender.

That budget takes affect on October 1st. The board can still make amendments to the approved budget.