County slashes budget
BY ALYSSA MEIER
McLean County Commissioners chiseled away hundreds of thousands of dollars from the 2016 budget at a special meeting on Sept. 22 at the county courthouse in Washburn.
Initial budget requests set the McLean County budget over $2 million dollars higher than 2015, a jump that would result in taxes approximately doubling for residents.
"This is, by far, the toughest budget I have ever had to deal with," Commissioner Steve Lee said at the meeting. "Revenue sources have gone down and difficult decisions need to be made."
A big topic of debate at the meeting was the McLean County Sheriff’s Department budget, which, among other things, was asking for $227,360 to cover four new patrol vehicles. Members of the sheriff’s department were present at the meeting to explain reasoning behind the budget requests.
The board eliminated the need for one of the vehicles by passing a motion to transfer a Chevy Blazer in the country motor pool to Detective Sam Lincoln, allowing his Ford Expedition to be equipped for patrol use. The Expedition will need decals along with wiring and some equipment.
The Jail Nurse line of the Sheriff’s Department budget was also cut $15,800 because the item was included in the Prisoner Medical budget. This brought the line item down to zero dollars. The commission then unanimously voted to eliminate the $50,000 Additional Detective line item from the budget. A $93,260.00 line item for Overtime for the department was discussed before Lee moved to eliminate the entire item.