The Piatt County board is apparently willing to approve a deficit budget for 2019-20.

At its third finance committee meeting of the week Thursday night, finance committee members – which include the entire county board – voted 5-1 to ask department heads to trim about 9 percent off of budget requests prior to another committee session that is scheduled for Monday morning at 9 a.m.

Earlier that day, a figure of 15 percent in cuts was discussed as a way of getting the budget within $100,000 of being balanced. It was thought that revenue enhancements could close the final gap.

But after receiving input from department heads throughout the day, County Board Chairman Ray Spencer said most came to the conclusion that 15 percent was too much for one budget year.

“Everyone would prefer a balanced budget, but that may be too painful in one year,” said Spencer.

Department heads will now be tasked with coming up with ways to cut their budget requests – or provide convincing evidence why it is not possible – by the time the committee meets again on Monday.

A 9 percent cut across the board would still leave the county with a revenue shortfall of between $400,000 and $500,000 for the fiscal year that begins on Dec. 1.

The finance committee is expected to approve a tentative budget, which will then be considered by the county board at a special meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Final approval is slated for the Oct. 13 monthly county board session.

Look for updated budget information after next week's meetings online and in the Oct. 23 print edition.