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Lake County Council unanimously approves 2021 spending plan

Lake County Council unanimously approves 2021 spending plan

Lake County Government Center

The Lake County Government Center is shown.

CROWN POINT — The Lake County Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to adopt a $255 million spending plan for 2021.

County spending is slated to increase approximately 2% next year compared to this year, and most county employees in 2021 will receive a 3% pay raise, according to Scott Schmal, the council's finance director.

At the same time, the budget is balanced by spending slightly less money than the county expects to collect in income taxes, property taxes, fees and other revenue, Schmal said.

Aside from pay raises, there are few large spending items included in the new budget after the Democratic-controlled council generally discouraged county departments from seeking any significant new appropriations for next year.

That strategy is intended to minimize the chances spending cuts will be needed in the 2022 budget due to the delayed county income tax revenue impact from this year's COVID-19 shutdowns, which won't be fully known until Lake County residents file their 2020 income tax returns starting in January.

The 2021 budget next must be approved by the three-member Lake County Commissioners to take effect Jan. 1.

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