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Lake County set to approve balanced budget for 2021

Lake County set to approve balanced budget for 2021

Lake County Government Center

The Lake County Government Center is shown.

CROWN POINT — The Lake County Council is set to tentatively approve the county's 2021 spending plan Sept. 29, with final adoption of the budget scheduled for Oct. 13.

The Democratic-led panel agreed to the revised budget ratification schedule Tuesday after a paperwork snafu delayed the "first reading" of the budget.

The spending plan is unlikely to change much over the next month after County Council members and county department heads spent the past few weeks identifying funding for urgent needs and making cutbacks where appropriate.

According to Scott Schmal, the council's finance director, the proposed budget is balanced and spends slightly less than the $255 million the county expects to collect in revenue from income taxes, property taxes, user fees and other receipts.

He said overall county spending is increasing 2% in 2021 compared to 2020, and most county employees are due next year to receive a 3% pay raise.

The council generally has been cautious about approving significant new spending to minimize the chances of a budget shortfall in 2022 when the income tax revenue impact of this year's COVID-19 shutdowns filter through to the county level.

Gallery: Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail

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