The budget proposed by the McHenry County Conservation District Board is interesting because rumor has it that it was rejected by McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks.
Although not much can be found in writing, word at the county building is that Franks wants it 5% lower that when it was submitted.
In MCCD Elizabeth Kessler’s April 21st letter to County Administrator Peter Austin she writes,
The Board of Trustees held a two-hour Special Call Committee of the Whole Meeting on Thursday, April 13, 2017 for the sole purpose of discussing the County Board Chairman’s request to further reduce the FY 2018 Budget. [Emphasis added.]
In response, the MCCD Board reduced the Capital Improvement Fund by $300,000.
Last year, the MCCD Board asked the McHenry County Board to approve $19,511,341.32, down $61,437 from $19,572,805 the year before.
Here is the overview of next year’s proposed budget as presented before the $300,000 reduction.
Including this $300,000 (not yet approved by the County), the total reduction from last year is. $774,586.
May 1st, the MCCD Board voted the intention to reduce another $250,000, which brings the total reduction from last year to over $1 million–$1,024,586.
That will come out of “Land Preservation” line item.
That’s a 3.9% reduction from from last year’s $19,572,805.
The following documents accompanied the April 4th submission to the County Board:
FY 2018 Tentative Budget Overview
The Fiscal Year 2018 Budget reflects our continued commitment to provide McHenry County citizens with the best the county has to offer in regards to protected public open space and outdoor recreational amenities while providing reasonable property tax relief.
For the years 2012, 2013, and 2014 the Board of Trustee’s elected to not take a General Fund property tax levy increase and for the three most recent consecutive years (2014, 2015, 2016), the District has reduced its total combined property tax levies.
The Board of Trustees and staff have made it their shared responsibility to balance growth and demands for services while sustaining the District during what has been a difficult economic environment and providing the necessary time to allow McHenry County’s EAV to grow and for families to recover financially.
The District will continue to assess needs, do its best with limited resources to maintain service excellence expectations, enhance organizational capacity through the use of technology, cultivate strategic working partnerships for shared services, maintain the economic condition of its employees and work tirelessly to secure alternative funding sources to carry our specific mission and vision.
While our arduous financial outlook has improved these past few years, the District remains dedicated to regaining financial strength through continued cost cutting and reinvesting resources in strategic initiatives for future growth, preserving biodiversity, maintaining public investments, increasing public participation in programs, activities and sites, while continuing to remain relevant, resilient and responsive.
We remain optimistic about the future; however, unfunded mandates, an inherent structural inability to generate large additional non-tax revenue to keep pace with inflationary growth and the ever-present challenge to maintain operations at its current level without increasing property taxes or reducing services is a concern if public investments and natural resources are to remain healthy and accessible.
Our highest opportunity and greatest need has been and will continue to be that of sustaining the
District and its public assets into the future.
Each year the District begins with a zero-based budget methodology, where each area and function of the organization is critically examined and evaluated to ensure it is most cost effective and efficient; the FY 2018 Annual Budget is no different.
This methodology is standard operating procedure and is how the District has effectively created a cost management culture without assuming inflationary growth.
During this process, difficult decisions and cost saving initiatives have been and continue to
be made throughout the organization including: identification of opportunities for shared services with government and non-government agencies that are cost-neutral or reduce costs, reduction in workforce through attrition, redistribution of workload among team members, reduction in overhead costs, reallocation of resources where they can be most effective, and purposeful abandonment of programs and processes.