SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County Finance Committee unanimously approved the proposed fiscal 2019 budget during its meeting Wednesday night at the DeKalb County Administration Building Conference Room East.
No one asked any questions or voiced any concerns during the public discussion, which was the only time county residents could do so. The proposal now goes to the County Board for final approval.
Additional personnel for different county departments was requested to be added to the budget. Those positions included additional public defenders and a correction’s deputy who would be the prison rape elimination area coordinator, according to Sept. 5 finance committee documents.
Committee member Dianne Leifheit said the requests came up in the last meeting for the county’s Law and Justice Committee, which she chairs, and were denied by the committee. She said the public defenders request would’ve involved adding another full-time attorney and to change the category for another attorney so the weekly hours could be changed.
“That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it would have been a $35,000 increase,” Leifheit said. “It would’ve been a raise of $14 an hour for that person.”
Leifheit said Sheriff Roger Scott wanted to add the jail deputy position because of current federal regulations and pending state regulations and not because of any jail incidents, but the committee denied the request to stay within overall budget constraints. Scott later told the committee that the position may become a necessity for the fiscal 2020 budget, Leifheit said.
Despite a few recent fiscal anomalies and other contentious county-related issues, such as losing sales tax revenue from the inability to sell airline fuel within the county, the budget is looking as if it will be a balanced one, officials said. County services weren’t cut but many requests couldn’t be added to the budget to help preserve emergency reserves.
County Administrator Gary Hanson said the budget is on track to be brought to the County Board a month earlier than usual. That’s because officials wanted to pass the new wind energy ordinance in November before terms end for some current board members.
The board’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 17.