DuPage County budget calls for property tax cut, $40 million surplus
Cronin's tenure as chairman ends with $40 million surplus
DuPage County will start the upcoming fiscal year with a balanced budget that features some new projects and pay raises for employees, while also reducing property taxes.
County board members have unanimously approved the $584.1 million spending plan for the 2023 fiscal year, which begins Dec. 1.
It is Chairman Dan Cronin's final budget before he steps down from office after 12 years at the helm of county government. Cronin, who decided not to seek reelection, will leave behind a hefty county surplus of $40 million in the current budget year.
At his last board meeting earlier this week, Cronin pointed to his years of fiscal stewardship.
"We've balanced every budget. We've kept property taxes low, making wise, prudent investments," Cronin said. "DuPage County is in the strongest financial shape it has been in a long time. We've embodied the spirit of accountability, efficiency, positive and innovative service delivery."
Sales tax revenue -- a major source of the surplus -- grew by $21.4 million, or 19.6%, when compared to original budget estimates. The county posted $12.1 million in August alone, the second-highest month ever. Taxes on internet sales, a relatively new revenue stream, are a primary driver of the increase, financial planners say.
The county is expected to use some of the surplus to fund the following projects:
• $3 million for major renovations of the DuPage Care Center, a 368-bed, county-owned nursing home.
• $2 million for transportation infrastructure.
• $2.5 million to cover liability and insurance costs.
• $6 million to replace the county's financial system.
• $3.25 million to replace aging vehicles.
• $393,800 for the installation of roof-mounted solar panels on the county administration building.
• $398,680 for a stormwater project at Winfield Creek.
• $250,000 for the "Neighborhood Revitalization Program," an effort to remove or repair dilapidated or abandoned buildings.
On the revenue side, the budget calls for a $69.9 million property tax levy. County board members also have agreed to abate $5 million in property taxes.
The abatement, which will be automatically deducted from property tax bills in 2023, will save the owner of a $365,000 home -- the median in DuPage -- an average $13.86. That owner now pays about $193 in property taxes to the county. After the abatement, that figure is set to drop to about $179.
The general fund budget, which includes the budgets of most county offices and departments, totals $234.6 million.
As outlined in Cronin's recommended budget, nonunion employees are due to receive a 4% cost-of-living increase, instead of the usual 2%, paid out in December. The county also will award a 2% merit increase in February 2023 to eligible employees.
State Rep. Deb Conroy will succeed Cronin as chair. Conroy and newly elected board members will take office on Monday, Dec. 5.