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updated: 7/1/2014 10:09 AM

DuPage residents invited to share views on county budget

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Before drafting a proposed budget for next year, DuPage County officials want to know what county services are most important to the public.

Officials are hoping to get the answer to that and other questions by inviting residents to respond to an online survey at surveymonkey.com/s/dupagebudgetsurvey.

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"The survey is one of a few pieces that go into creating the budget," said Paul Fichtner, a DuPage County Board member who serves as chairman of the board's finance committee.

The county has until Nov. 30 to approve a spending plan for the 2015 fiscal year, which begins Dec. 1.

County board Chairman Dan Cronin is scheduled to present his budget proposal in September.

Over the next few months, department heads and countywide elected officials will provide feedback about what they would like to see in the next budget.

Cronin will consider information from the budget discussions and the survey results when drafting a proposed spending plan.

"The budget survey provides the county board members and staff with invaluable information that assists in our financial decisions," Cronin said in a statement.

In addition to listing what services are important to them, residents who respond to the survey are being asked if DuPage should raise property taxes or fees to make up for potential cuts in state and federal funding.

Survey respondents also are being asked if DuPage should increase senior services. Another question asks respondents if they support the county's mission to reduce the number of local governments.

Fichtner said officials were pleased when more than 450 residents responded to last year's survey. He's hoping to see the number of respondents increase this year.

"It's another way of getting people involved with what the county does," Fichtner said.

Once the proposed budget is unveiled by Cronin, several hearings will be held throughout the county to give residents the chance to learn more about the financial plan.

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