Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan will present a budget to the County Board at its Nov. 18 meeting that has been reduced by more than $1 million from the current fiscal year. Of significant importance to Madison County taxpayers, the budget proposes a cut in property taxes for property owners.
The proposed 2016 Madison County Budget of $129,032,013 is decreased from the current budget of $130,317,062.
Dunstan said the proposed property tax levy for 2016 will be 2.3 percent lower than the current year.
“This will result in a cut in taxes for property owners in Madison County for the county portion of the property tax bill,” Dunstan said. “Furthermore, we have been able to do this and still preserve vital county services, including public safety programs.”
Dunstan said property taxes are one of the biggest concerns for taxpayers and the County Board has worked diligently over the past four years to hold the line on property taxes.
“Madison County will actually levy less property tax in 2016 than it did four years ago,” Dunstan said. “It has been the priority of mine and the board to reduce our reliance on property taxes. I am proud to say we have demonstrated our ability to do this while still maintaining core county services and preserving the board’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.
“In preparing the 2016 budget, we were faced with the possibility of funding cuts from the state of Illinois due to the uncertainty of the Illinois budget. The inability of our governor and legislature to reach a budget agreement put significant pressure on us, as well as on our schools and other taxing districts, to prepare viable budgets.
“Despite the obstacle of not knowing the state budget, I am confident we are submitting a balanced budget that will enable us to continue to effectively provide required and other services the people of Madison County expect and deserve,” Dunstan said.
The chairman also presented a detailed capital project budget that includes $6 million in capital projects for the 2016 fiscal year, funded with past budget savings. Funding is included for major upgrades to the heating, cooling and ventilation systems in the courthouse, detention home, annex facilities, and the correction of deficiencies at the Madison County Jail.
Treasurer: Levy should be reduced by 10 percent
Treasurer Kurt Prenzler, who is running for County Board chairman in next year's election, is pushing for a bigger reduction in the property tax levy and said in a press release Wednesday that he thinks pressure is building for the county chairman to do more.
“Since I pointed out the county’s budget surplus, the chairman is under a lot of pressure to lower the tax levy,” Prenzler said. “People don’t mind paying their fair share, but taxing people for budget surpluses isn’t right. We can reduce the levy 10 percent and not impact jobs or services.”
Prenzler plans to continue to put pressure on the county chairman to reduce the county’s tax levy by the full 10 percent.
“Our efforts are paying off with the recent announcement of a 2.3 percent levy decrease,” he said. ‘We are saving taxpayers’ money and intend to get the full 10 percent reduction they deserve.”
He said a 10 percent reduction in the levy could result in lowering a property tax bill $20 to $100 per year.
“People want to know how my plan brings property tax relief,” Prenzler said. “If elected, my plan would save a homeowner hundreds of dollars. As the holidays approach, we all wish we had more money in our pockets.”
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