Kankakee County’s auditor has a warning: Just because there’s going to be some extra income this year doesn’t mean the county should spend it.
Jacob Lee recently released the county’s fiscal year 2017 first quarter financial report, which shows the county on track to have greater revenue than expenditures, but the county is not financially sound, he said, according to a press report.
“All things being equal, current projections indicate that there will be more revenue than expenditures this year,” Lee wrote. “I must strongly advise that if there is more revenue than expenditures that we do not increase expenditures.”
Lee noted that the county is facing $ 4.5 million in debt to the Highway Department that must be paid within three years, a backlog of bills and changes to the county’s inter-fund borrowing. Compounding the need for a high budget surplus, the county must achieve a combined balance of $ 1 million in its general, tort and pension funds to see its bond rating improve. Those funds currently have a deficit of approximately $ 5.5 million.
“The County is still in dire financial straits,” Lee wrote. “The projected revenue exceeding expenditures this year is not ‘free money’ or ‘extra money.’ It is paramount to understand that from a cash flow perspective only, the County must get to a level whereas revenues, by the end of the year, exceed expenditures by $ 5 million, at a minimum.”