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Board working to close budget deficit, as soon as possible

Putnam County Courthouse
Putnam County Courthouse

HENNEPIN — Putnam County Board has a ways to go still to balance the books and they’re looking for solutions to do so.

One option, which the board asked State’s Attorney Christina (Judd) Mennie to examine, is establishing a special service ordinance to bring in revenue.

If approved, the measure would likely be tied to public safety, for example a property tax, but it’s too early for the board to know exactly how it would be implemented. Mennie, at the board’s regular meeting, said other counties she’s reached out to have indicated the process is time-consuming, so she was waiting for board approval to move forward. If the ordinance is established, it can be rescinded once the county balances its budget. The board also established a budget line item that will replace a full-time position in the treasurer’s office with part-time help as a cost-saving measure. Treasurer Kevin Kunkel said he will do his best to run the office on part-time help only in order to keep costs down. The board is looking to make up a $377,000 shortfall in revenues to balance the budget.

Also approved was the replacement of a County Animal Control Administrator. The position was eliminated and will now be handled by Putnam County Sheriff’s Department. Deputy Jacob Bush will take over the duties, as a stipend not on sheriff’s department time, it was noted at the meeting.

The board will approve the budget at next month’s meeting.

Cannabis decisions needed

Board members soon will decide on cannabis zoning in advance of the Jan. 1 legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois. Board Chairman Steven Malavolti urged board members to start thinking about what they’ll want to include in the zoning ordinance.

“It’s out there whether you’re for or against it, it’s going to be here and it’s revenue,” Malavolti said.

Other business

  • The Putnam County Board on Monday approved construction engineering costs for the Bottom Road Bridge. HR Green, of Aurora was awarded the contract for $176,000. The project will go out for bid in January and is slated to start March 1. The project will be funded 80 percent with federal grants and 20 percent county funds.
  • The treasurer announced Oct. 31 will be (tax) judgment day. The tax sale will begin Nov. 1 It is expected to bring about $45,000 into the general fund.
  • The county received a $9,400 election security grant, which was used for a Windows update and additional firewall protection.

Kim Shute can be reached at (815) 879-5200 or kshute@shawmedia.com Follow her on Twitter at NT_Princeton2.

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