County working to fill expected $700,000 hole in revenue

(Look for extended coverage in next week's Journal-Republican)

A dip in expected revenue sent the Piatt County board scrambling recently to find $700,000 to balance its 2018 budget, which will be approved next month.

Through extensive budget meetings, County Board Chairman Randy Keith said the shortfall has been made up on paper, and with that presented a balanced budget at the Oct. 11 county board session.

“We cut, and we cut and we cut and we cut,” said Keith, adding that every department head and elected official did their part in trimming expenses. One of the largest cuts will be a $67,000 one for the sheriff's department.

About two months ago Keith was told the county should expect $400,000 less in Corporate Personal Property Replacement Taxes for the state's fiscal year that began on July 1. The county fiscal year begins on Dec. 1.

Not long after that news, officials discovered $300,000 in revenue had been entered into the county books twice, adding to the revenue it could not count on for 2018.

“This was a double kick in the gut, but we're the ones who have to fix it. That falls on us to fix this thing,” added the county board chair.

An expected increase in property values should also help increase revenue through taxes. Keith is not sure if county real estate owners will see a tax increase, but said about “95 percent” of the shortfall has been made up with budget cuts, and that the budget process is continuing.

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