By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Adams County Finance Committee on Monday forwarded a $9.163 million tax levy to the full County Board, an increase of about $91,000 from last year's levy.
The County Board is expected to approve the levy at its meeting Tuesday. The levy will produce a projected tax rate of 90.2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, nearly identical to the 90.17 cents that taxpayers paid this year.
The board approved a $9.072 million tax levy last December.
"At the beginning of the budget process, we asked all the department heads (for) a zero-growth budget," said Finance Committee Chairman Duane Venvertloh, R-7. "It was our turn and our responsibility to present the taxpayer with a zero-growth tax rate."
The board also increased the developmental disabled tax levy to $575,000, an increase of $25,000. The Adams County Health Department's tax levy was lowered by $25,000 to $200,000 to make up the difference.
Committee member John Heidbreder, R-4, said the Health Department's fiscal health should not be affected by the change.
"Their end-of-year cash is looking good, so they will be able to operate through July no problem," Heidbreder said.
Representatives of Transitions of Western Illinois and the county's Mental Health Board asked the committee to consider increasing the county's developmental disabled tax levy to $682,000. The county levied $550,000 and $549,400 in 2011 and 2010, respectively, and $682,000 in 2009.
Mike Rein, executive director of Transitions of Western Illinois, said people with developmental disabilities require long-term care support and services. Currently, there are 39 people with developmental disabilities living in group homes.
"Their needs and the need for support is 24-7," Rein said. "If you wanted to make a five-day program available only three days, what would they do the other two?"
Rein said if services for the developmental disabled are reduced, other services, such as the emergency room, Ambulance Service and even the jail would have to pick up the slack.
"We consistently demonstrated that we are good stewards of the public trust, but after more than 20 years of doing more with less, we're at the point of doing less with less," he said.
The County Board created the tax levy for the developmentally disabled in 1981.
"It doesn't fund any county government," Rein said. "It just funds services for county residents who have developmental disabilities."