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home : news : national news free July 25, 2017

5/12/2017 4:26:00 PM
County hacks away at budget deficit
Mike Frazier
Breeze-Courier Writer

TAYLORVILLE — The county continues to trim fat from its budget.

The county’s Finance Committee met Thursday to review proposals from office holders for cost savings.

The county continues to climb its way out of a deficit of more than a half million dollars.

Edwards in past weeks set a goal of cutting all county budgets by five percent.

This, she hopes, will shrink the deficit in half for the upcoming fiscal year.

After hearing of the efforts of office holders, including State’s Attorney Mike Havera, Circuit Clerk Julie Mayer, and Coroner Amy Calvert Winans, the committee seemed happy at their efforts.

“I’m very pleased, to say the least,” Edwards said. “I’m very impressed and happy that the state’s attorney was able to reduce his budget. I think came pretty close to 4 percent of 5 percent goal.”

Edwards said this alone could mean a savings of $20,000.

Havera will be able to save funds through increasing automation of his office.

“Paper is basically going away,” Edwards said. “You will be able to acceess a case file at the sheriff’s office or the state’s attorney’s office. It’s all going to be linked, rather than having to scan and send or fax and send.

Havera is also going to replace a retiring full-time secretary with a part-time secretary.

The circuit clerk’s office will have all documents scanned by 2018.

Mayer is ahead of the game, already scanning before the 2018 deadline, Edwards said.

“I congratulate her on that,” Edwards said.

Calvert Winans continues to pinch pennies but cautioned it is difficult to predict the needs of the coroner’s department.

Nobody knows how many people will die in a fiscal year or what expenses will be associated with the coroner’s work.

“It’s just like throwing a quarter, and you don’t know if you’ll get heads or tails,” Calvert Winans said.

In other business, the committee recommended approval of a new health insurance plan for county employees.

The new plan will be with Health Alliance instead of Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Edwards said county employees had a deductible of about $4,500 with Blue Cross Blue Shield, and costs were rising.

“They county can’t afford it,” Edwards said. “We made the choice to save $196,000.”

The finance committee will continue to meet with department heads in coming months, brainstorming ways to save money.

Edwards said the county is off to a good start.

“Onward and upward,” Edwards said.

Anderson Jewelers

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