Budget 2By Shelby R. Farrell


BOONE COUNTY – The County faces a budget deficiency over $800,000 for fiscal year 2016, and the Finance, Taxation, and Salaries Committee held a special budget hearing to find ways to fix the issue.

The meeting was held over the course of two nights on Sept. 31 and Oct. 1. County Administrator Ken Terrinoni told the committee that the general fund will have an $800,000 revenue deficiency caused by a loss of detainees from other counties, losses of other kinds of revenue, and taxes that haven’t recovered from the 2008 recession.

On Oct. 1, the committee discussed options to recover revenue and the $800,000. Terrinoni presented six options that he had thought of, and he offered the committee and audience to offer more options.

However, Terrinoni and Chairman Karl Johnson repeatedly said that all of the options weren’t good ones, and whatever the members chose wouldn’t be ideal.

“If all we’re kicking around is bad ideas, than I truly want to find the best bad idea,” Johnson said. “If we’re gonna take some kind of hit, or if we’re gonna make bad ideas work, then I think its incumbent upon us to use the money that the citizen’s give us in the best possible way we can, and the most responsible way.”

The eight options for the $800,000 problem were:

“Stay the course,” which could result in reductions in every department and more overtime. Terrinoni said the reductions would be seen in the loss of employees.

Using additional money earned through the Public Safety Sales Tax to replace the lost detainee revenue, equal to about $500,000 out of $800,000.

The committee could also use all of the surplus revenue through the Public Safety Sales Tax, to equal about $800,000. The money would go to the corrections and other public safety departments, essentially replacing money that would have come from the general fund.

The third option is proposing an advisory-type referendum regarding the use of the Public Safety Sales Tax. This type of referendum asks the public for their opinion on using the tax revenue for this purpose. However, it wouldn’t affect the next fiscal year, only 2017 and later.

One option is proposing a referendum to increase the Public Safety Sales Tax to one percent. The tax is currently at a half percent. Once again, this referendum is for the tax’s future.

Another choice is the same thing as option three, with the addition of a property tax abatement, or relief, offer after the bonds that the tax was originally created for are paid off, probably in 2018.

Another alternative is using money from tax levies that are set aside for highways and bridges in the county.

The last option is any combination of options above.

The Public Safety Sales Tax is paying off a bond with $600,000 payments every fiscal year. The committee said the tax wasn’t expected to earn that much in a year, but has since earned over $4 million in a year.

“I think there’s a considerable amount of people that would be really irked if we went out there and talked about how we had to lay off more corrections officers, more deputies, pay them more over time; do all these things, but in the same sentence… we have $900,000 just sitting here that we told ourselves we can’t use,” Johnson said.

Option three was the only clear preferred option among all of the committee members. The committee also wants to find ways to hire more corrections officers and deputies at the sheriff’s office to reduce overtime.

Other methods of fixing the deficiencies included not finding revenue but saving money wherever possible. The committee discussed combining their resources when it comes to buying their everyday resources, such as office paper and other supplies.

The committee also discussed hiring someone as a juror commissioner to help cut down on the costs for jury duty in the state, which isn’t funded by the state.

The County Finance, Taxation and Salaries Committee continued the budget discussion on Oct. 8 and will continue the budget discussion again at 1212 Logan Ave. in Belvidere Oct.19.

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.