October 1, 2014

County budget discussed


BHG News Service

A public hearing, hosted by the McLean County Board of Commissioners, took place Sept. 23, with several taxpayers and department leaders in attendance.

Commissioners and Les Korgel, county auditor, fielded questions and reviewed the preliminary budget, line-for-line, during the meeting.

Korgel said the hearing was lawfully required, as the county is proposing a 20.3 percent increase in the 2015 preliminary budget, over last year’s zero mill increase, approved budget.

How are county mill levies calculated?

Commissioner Steve Lee said the formula is compiled by the state.

Korgel further explained, "By state law, we have to take last year’s final budgeted amount and final mill levy … take that figure and apply it to this year’s new evaluation figure, minus our new construction, which will give us a new mill levy total."

He went on to say, "Confusing? Yeah, you betcha."

Korgel noted the county increase only accounts for about 35 percent of each taxpayer’s total tax bill.

Cities, schools and townships make up the other 65 percent of the equation, and the amount you pay depends on where you live in McLean County.

"It gets very confusing and it’s hard to nail down for any individual. Not a one of you (taxpayers) is probably in the exact same boat," said Korgel.

A taxpayer questioned if all entities could communicate with one another, as to avoid a massive tax increase in one year’s time.

Korgel responded they do communicate with the city and school districts.

When asked what a house valued at $200,000 would cost taxpayers this year, Korgel calculated a proposed increase of $39.61, compared to last year’s $37.27 at the county level only.

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