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County board approves 2014 budget by 22-1 vote

Only one Ogle County Board member cast a no vote Tuesday against the 2014 budget.

The $39. 3 million budget was approved 22-1 with only Skip Kenney, Rochelle, voting against it.
John O'Brien, Rochelle, did not attend the meeting.

"It's not a balanced budget," Kenney said after the meeting. "You've got to live within your means."

He said too much is being taken out of the Long Range Planning Fund to bolster other funds.

Revenues in that fund come from the host fees paid by garbage collection firms to dump refuse in the landfills within the county.

The fees bring approximately $2.5 million per year into the county's coffers.

According to the budget, the Long Range Planning Fund, which is earmarked for major capital projects, is projected to start the new fiscal year Dec. 1 with a balance of $13 million, add approximately $2.5 million in revenues throughout the year, and end with a balance of $9.5 million.

The largest budgeted expenditures in the Long Range Planning Fund are $4.1 million for a new sheriff's administration building, $1 million for a highway department storage building, $435,000 for repairs and maintenance of existing buildings, and $250,000 to establish a new fund for purchasing county-owned vehicles.

During the budget discussion, board member Ron Colson, Mt. Morris, also questioned some of the expenditures from the Long Range Planning Fund.

He said he planned to vote for the budget, but voiced concern that the fund is being used to pay for projects outside its intended purpose. He did not specify which expenditures he was questioning.

Board chairman Kim Gouker, Byron, disagreed.

He said he believes paying for the repairs and maintenance of county buildings is within the fund's stated purpose.

The fund has been used to pay for the construction of the $15 million judicial center built in 2005 and for the remodeling of the courthouse in 2010, a $7.5 million project.

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