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McHenry County revenue, spending down

Published: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 12:22 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 9:23 a.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Board took in slightly less money than it anticipated in the past fiscal year, but it also spent a lot less than anticipated.

County government took in $82.7 million in 2012, or about $1.74 million less than budgeted. However, expenses came in almost $7 million under budget at slightly less than $83.4 million, according to preliminary, unaudited figures.

What’s more, the almost $2.3 million in reserves the county planned to spend down – a conscious choice by the County Board and not true deficit spending – ended up at only $671,170. The county had a reserve of $53.2 million at the Nov. 30 end of fiscal 2012.

“The departments did a fantastic job of controlling their expenditures,” said Ralph Sarbaugh, associate administrator for finance, at Tuesday’s County Board meeting.

The county last year collected almost $1.16 million more in tax revenue, but fell short of projections in other revenue streams such as licenses and permits and fees.

The largest shortfall – about $1.8 million – was due to less revenue from intergovernmental agreements, specifically the agreement with the federal government to house immigration detainees at the county jail.

But the county spent $1.46 million less than projected on personnel, about $2.4 million less on contractual services and almost $2 million less on capital outlay.

The county spent down a portion of its healthy reserves to pay off bonds and buy new software for permitting and plan review.

The 2012 budget was the first in 11 years in which county government ended the year by spending from its reserve rather than contributing surplus funds to it, Sarbaugh said.

The budget for fiscal 2013 approved by the County Board in October is about $4.6 million leaner than last year’s $256 million budget. It also holds county government’s levy flat and rejects the 3 percent increase it was entitled to under the tax cap, or about $2.3 million less.

County government is expected by early June to set its priorities for the 2014 budget year, County Administrator Peter Austin said.

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