DuPage County to receive less money for road repairs

The revenue outlook continues to worsen for DuPage County government, with officials learning they'll have roughly $851,000 less for road projects next year.

County Board Chairman Dan Cronin last month announced a proposed $439.6 million spending plan for 2018 that anticipated a $2.7 million drop in revenue from the state. But county officials recently learned the state also will be giving DuPage less motor fuel tax money.

DuPage was expecting to receive about $14.5 million in motor fuel tax revenue to help pay for road construction and repairs. Now it's projected to get roughly $13.65 million.

"It may be necessary to slow or defer capital projects or phases of engineering in order to stay within our available revenue," Cronin said.

On Monday, board member Jim Zay expressed disappointment about the funding cut.

"Motor fuel tax goes straight to our road program - engineering, construction and maintenance of roads," said Zay, who serves as the vice chairman of the board. "That (reduction) is going to hurt."

It's not yet known what projects will be affected. DuPage has a five-year plan outlining new construction and maintenance projects.

"Obviously, we're going to have to stretch that out," said Zay, adding that the funding reduction is expected to continue for several years.

DuPage is getting less money because Illinois lawmakers crafted a state budget that keeps millions of dollars that traditionally went to counties.

Illinois is keeping 10 percent of the state income tax revenue that municipalities and counties receive. In addition, the state has reduced DuPage's share of the RTA sales tax and personal property replacement tax revenues.

In addition to the $851,000 reduction in motor fuel tax money, DuPage has lost roughly $3.55 million in revenue from the state.

"The state is balancing its budget on the backs of municipalities and counties," Zay said.

Cronin's proposed budget calls for the county to spend roughly $176.9 million, which is down slightly from last year. The general revenue fund pays for the county's most vital services, including public safety and the DuPage Care Center.

To make up for the projected loss of funding, all county offices and departments were asked to reduce costs. The goal is to have the offices and departments cut a total of roughly $3 million.

Zay said the county board is expected to get an update Tuesday on what cost-saving measures the countywide offices and departments plan to make.

"They're working on it," he said. "But they've had good discussions so far on what they can and can't do."

The county board has until Nov. 30 to approve a budget for the 2018 fiscal year that begins Dec. 1.

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