September 24, 2009

Budget up 6 percent: McLean County plans for 2010 fiscal year

By Stu Merry, BHG News Service

McLean County officials got their first look Monday at the $8.1 million 2010 proposed budget. That’s up from $7.6 million in 2009. About a quarter of the budget is for highway operations, which includes snow removal, bridge repair, road maintenance, graveling, culverts, signs, mowing and other road-related activity. The amount is about 2.7 percent less than was budgeted for 2009. The decrease is due to fewer capital purchases being scheduled for 2010. Another $352,000 (the same as 2009) is earmarked for farm to market roads. Another major piece of the tax dollar pie goes to law enforcement. The proposed sheriff’s department budget will increase 4 percent, going from $1.04 million to $1.09 million. Salaries will see a 4 percent increase, going from $829,200 to $870,661. Fuel expense in the vehicle budget will remain the same at $109,000. The proposed budget for the law enforcement center will go from $345,000 to $352,000. The cost to cover employee benefits will also be going up, jumping from $911,600 to $971,200 – a 6.5 percent increase from 2009. In the past 10 years, employee benefits expenses have jumped 103 percent, going from $477,928 to $971,200. Health insurance premiums have jumped 137 percent in 10 years. Talking about the challenges county officials encountered in 2009, Auditor Les Korgel was prompted to say, "This has been an extremely interesting budget year."

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