Kane County is set to freeze its property-tax levy for the fifth straight year.
Before we go into some of the details on where and how to look at Kane County’s proposed 2016 budget, let’s stop a minute and consider what that frozen tax levy means.
Generally speaking, it means Kane County is collecting the same amount of property tax dollars it did back in 2011 — something very few units of government, whether local, state or national, have been able to do.
It also means the tax rate for the Kane County government portion of your property tax bill isn’t just staying flat — it’s decreasing. The logic works like this: (a) Kane County is still collecting the same $53.9 million, and (b) new construction is adding to the tax base, so (c) the portion you’re paying for county services per $100 assessed property value is going down.
As of Monday (Oct. 27, 2015), the Kane County Draft Budget for Fiscal Year 2016 was made public via the traditional Budget Book as posted on the Finance Director’s section of the Kane County website, as well as in hard copy form, which is traditionally available for public viewing in the County Clerk’s Office as well as the County Board Office.
The budget is required to be on public display for 15 calendar days before it is adopted by the County Board. This year, the County Board is expected to vote on adopting the budget at its Nov. 10 meeting.
Additionally, as part of the county’s ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability, the details of that budget have been made available to the general public in user friendly format for the first time. Through the collaborative efforts of County Auditor Terry Hunt, Director of Finance Joe Onzick and their respective staffs, the budget is now readily accessible through the Kane County OpenGov platform.
To view the report, simply go to KaneCountyIL.opengov.com and choose the report named Fiscal 2016 Draft Budget.
In a press release issued Monday, Hunt said the general public will find Kane County OpenGov to be a great resource for accessible financial information.
“As with the other reports made available to the public when the site went live on June 1, anyone with access to the Internet can also view the County budget on their computer, tablet or smart phone,” he said.
The default report displays the balanced budget in the broadest summary fashion, but there are many saved views available to provide breakdowns of revenues, expenses, capital expenditures and debt service with a single click. Users may also develop their own customized reports through filters that allow them to drill down for details by revenue or expense types or by office or department.
The various reports can be viewed in different graphic formats as well as a spreadsheet styled version. Once developed, the reports can also be downloaded and saved.
“It is even easy to share a report through e-mail, or social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+,” Hunt said. “Naturally, there is also still a link to the traditional budget book for anyone who would prefer nearly 200 pages of details.”
Hunt invites feedback and suggestions for ways to can make the platform better for Kane County residents.