We are going to have a very busy 2015 at the McHenry County Board. From the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Transmittal Letter there was a lot of important data that was given to you and I. We actually get to see where our money will be going as well as what is on the docket for as far as big ticket items. Everyone loves a pie chart so here you go:
More high fidelity data will be forthcoming when the administration presents the full budget in a few weeks. However, we can get a sense of what the past board and staff were thinking.
One line item that is increasing every year is the county’s contribution to the IMRF fund. Even though our levy remained flat and we are spending $10 MILLION dollars less than last year, we gained employees and the county taxpayers are on the hook. $7.8 million is required in 2015.
Our Mental Health Board cannot “tax to the max” this year. Their slice of the pie is down from just over $12 million to $10.9 million this year. Services and care will continue and dare I say improve. The new members on the Mental Health Board are doing some serious work to get salaries and administration under control. Two short years ago over 30 percent of the budget was going to salaries and administration. This year I have been informed its at about 17 percent. This is positive progress and while we still have aways to go, we see good open government in action.
Finally we will be working to replace our Financial Accounting Software. This may come as a surprise to you but the county software was purchased in 1996. That is not a typo. Our Auditor has a staff of five people. Five. New software will enhance our capability to track and monitor funds as well as improve our county transparency. Here is the direct quote from the letter
Financial Software Replacement Project – In 2014 McHenry County contracted with the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) to assist the County through the critical process of replacing the organization’s financial software. While still functioning, the current owner of financial software is no longer enhancing or actively promoting it. Other governmental users of the product have or are in the process of purchasing and implementing new systems. With this knowledge it makes the prospect of maintenance and support continuing for the software a real concern and a definite reality. 2015 will see McHenry County continue the work with GFOA to inventory current and future needs, develop specifications, and bid out and replace its financial software system.
This is going to be something that I really would like to work on. Numbers on my passion with local government. The budget numbers really drive what we do and accomplish. When you the taxpayers know the numbers it is much easier for you to hold us accountable.