DuPage eyes $432 million budget, savings for 2013
DuPage County Chair Dan Cronin, speaks at his Q&A with the DuPage United Delegated Assembly in West Chicago on Thursday. Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 21, 2012 1:19PM
WHEATON — DuPage County once again is cutting costs, and authorities aren’t too shy to boast about it a little.
“Folks in DuPage are pretty humble,” County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said in his annual budget address. “I think we’re not prone to brag about success — but today we will make a brief exception.”
The chairman’s $431.8 million fiscal blueprint is less than 1 percent smaller than the spending plan he presented a year ago, but it represents a savings of more than $8 million relative to the sum the county has actually spent in fiscal 2012.
Payroll expenses next year will reflect continuing staff reductions if the County Board approves the proposal. Seven full-time positions will be taken out of the budget, expanding on the 33 eliminated in fiscal 2012. The head count would total 2,227, a decrease of 99 jobs since the tally peaked in 2010.
Among the other highlights of the draft spending plan is $93 million for infrastructure work, including flood prevention and dam modification projects plus road widening and resurfacing and bike trails. More than one-third of the expense will be funded with federal stimulus finds received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Recovery Zone Facility Bonds program. State money is expected to help cover the costs as well.
“(The county) received some good news out of Springfield,” Cronin said. “I know that might seem unlikely, but DuPage County will receive capital funds next year to pay for infrastructure projects.”
The county’s yearly revenues also include 2.5 percent of the real estate taxes paid annually by DuPage property owners, some $66.6 million levied this year that will go into next year’s spending. The largest single source of revenue, sales tax receipts, is estimated at $84.7 million next year and includes anticipated growth of 3 percent.
The chairman’s address, delivered at the start of the board’s bimonthly meeting, was peppered lightly with other subtle jabs, and some sweeping projections. Cronin projected the savings of several cost-cutting initiatives through a multi-year lens, estimating the savings from changes in employee benefits at $20 million over the next two decades. Under the new modifications, county workers will pay 20 percent of the cost of their health insurance, rather than the current 15 percent.
Recent changes at the DuPage Election Commission are expected to save another $600,000 over the next three years, two-thirds of the sum resulting from the commission using the county’s information technology staff.
Cronin also predicted savings of $9 million will be realized over the next 20 years from upgrades in the county’s information technology systems.
He expressed satisfaction with the numbers in the second budget proposal he has formulated since taking office 21 months ago.
“Unlike most of our colleagues in government, because of the wise choices this board has made in recent years, we are not sitting here struggling with how to deal with large deficits or unpaid obligations,” he said.
In the coming weeks, the board will meet as a finance committee to scrutinize the spending proposal in pieces, gathering with department heads and other elected officials ahead of their meetings as a full board on Sept. 25 and Oct. 9 and 23. A series of community-level meetings also will be held at locations yet to be announced, in addition to the mandated public hearings at the county complex. The county budget must be adopted by the end of November.
More information can be found at www.dupageco.org/Finance/29377/.