Breaking down the 2020 Winnebago County budget

ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- The current Winnebago County budget came with its own set of issues, including a Sheriff's lawsuit. Now it looks ahead to next year's budget.

Winnebago County budget breakdown

"We've been this way now for the past I don't know how many years," says board member Dave Fiduccia. "And the problem is, is we're never going to win." Fiduccia says making cuts to one department will cause consequences for another.

"If we cut budgets there is going to be someone that possibly loses their job, and that's not going to be a good consequence," he explains. "If we raise a multiplier there are going to be voters that are going to be upset with the county board because we've raised their taxes."

The budget for this upcoming fiscal year is projected at $6.4 million, which includes the Sheriff's Deputy lawsuit that was settled last month. Without the 24 deputies on the payroll, the deficit is $4.5 million.

Member Jaime Salgado says it is possible they could find themselves in the same situation with this budget, but cannot speak for Sheriff Gary Caruana's prerogative.

"Strategically we need to look long term, not short term and not just band aid it," says Salgado. "Let's figure out if we need to increase revenues in some shape or form, then we need to focus on that."

Some committee members say it's not worth it to increase taxes, while others say making department cuts, especially when it comes to public safety, should not be an option.

"Expenditures and cost of living continues to go up, and so we need to find that buffer, that balance so we can continue to build revenue, more importantly," says Salgado.

He recommended the finance committee have a joint caucus meeting with the board next week to discuss its options. The budget needs to be presented by September 5, and voted on by September 26.