DuPage County plans to reduce its 2013 budget by $8.1 million. Officials say those cuts will come without residents having to pay higher property taxes.
The proposed 2013 spending plan is $431.8 million and includes a reduction in full-time employees. The budget also benefits from reforms instituted in the county including a reduction in the use of credit cards, cellphones and other unnecessary items and Election Commission cuts.
The proposed budget is $8.1 million lower than the current budget, according to DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin. He presented the proposed budget to the public on Monday.
According to Cronin, some of the specifics highlighted in the fiscal year 2013 budget are:
- No property tax increase;
- Reduction in full-time headcount by seven positions (proposed headcount 2,227), which equates to more than 40 over the past two years;
- Appropriation of $16.9 million for campus and county-wide improvements including the Enterprise Resource Planning system, that is expected to save taxpayers $9 million over 20 years due to consolidation of functions and greater efficiencies.
Reforms to personnel benefits, which were instituted last year, are expected to save taxpayers $20 million over the next 20 years, Cronin said in a news release. Employment costs associated with pension benefits are one of the largest long-term financial challenges for the county.
“We are already realizing immediate savings due to reduced pay-outs for accumulated sick and vacation days. By mid-term this year, benefit pay-outs were $1.6 million lower than the same time last year with no increase expected for 2013,” Cronin said. “We expect this trajectory to continue into the future.”
Significant cost savings, which have taken place as a result of a year-long effort to evaluate the operations at 24 independent agencies in DuPage County, are also represented in the budget, Cronin said in the news release.
The reforms include:
- Saving taxpayers nearly $600,000 over the next three years at the Election Commission due to staff cuts and shared services with county government;
- Increasing accountability and transparency in 14 of the 24 agencies by adopting the county’s ethics ordinance;
- Eliminating the use of credit cards, cell phone and other unnecessary expenses by several agencies;
- Updating procurement and hiring practices by several agencies; and
- Posting meeting agendas and minutes online by five agencies.
“DuPage County continues to be a leader on common-sense government reform that protects taxpayers and does things differently and smarter,” Cronin said. “Because of the wise choices the board has made in recent years, we are not sitting here struggling with how to deal with large deficits or unpaid obligations. Instead we have the opportunity to spend our time figuring out how to save tax dollars and offer services without raising taxes or compromising quality in an effort to be a model of local government.”
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