SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County Board may aim for a surplus in the upcoming fiscal year’s budget if it moves forward with a committee recommendation.
The DeKalb County Board Finance Committee approved a motion Wednesday to aim for a $100,000 to $200,000 surplus for fiscal 2020. County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski said he wanted to aim higher than a balanced budget to build up the county’s reserves.
The reserve funds are currently at 25% of the general fund, down from the 35% the county had when Pietrowski became chairman in 2014, he said at the meeting.
“Right now, we’re kind of right where the auditors want us to be, but when you look at future projections of possible recessions and things like that that could come about again, I want this county to be prepared,” Pietrowski said.
The eventual goal would be to regain the 10% the county has since dipped into, but it could be a years-long process, board member John Frieders said at the meeting.
“We won’t get there right away, but at least let’s start getting there now,” Frieders said.
County Administrator Gary Hanson agreed an increase in reserves would be a good safeguard against future dilemmas, but it could also mean departments having to make cuts now.
“If we want to go up $100,000 in reserve fund balance, what are we going to give up to do that?” Hanson said. “Do we want something new or to increase our fund balance?”
Budget request forms for fiscal 2020 will be sent to all departments June 21 and are due back to the finance office Aug. 5. The County Board will adopt an annual budget and tax levy ordinance Nov. 20.