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Board OKs cost-saving steps ahead of budget

Furlough plan, real estate purchase to save thousands

Published: Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 4:58 p.m. CDT

JOLIET, Ill. – The Will County Board has approved a voluntary furlough program for the fourth consecutive year and signed off on the purchase of an office building in an effort to cut expenses and save taxpayer dollars.

“Both the voluntary furlough program and the purchase of additional office space represent this board’s ongoing efforts to practice the highest level of fiscal responsibility,” said Chairman Jim Moustis.

“We are thankful to the many county employees that participated in the furlough program in previous years and those that will do so in 2013. As the county has grown, we have had to lease additional office space. The purchase of this real estate will decrease lease expenses and pay for itself in only a few years.”

The furlough program is completely voluntary and some employees have found the program beneficial in allowing additional time off to care for a child as opposed to arranging and paying for childcare.

Additionally, others simply enjoyed taking an extended vacation.  Since fiscal year 2010, approximately 340 employees have taken part in voluntary furloughs.  Last year the county saved $127,494.

“As we enter the time when tough budget decisions need to be made, everyone plays an important role in holding the line and being fiscally responsible while continuing to provide a high level of service,” said Minority Leader Walter Adamic (D-Joliet).  “Everyone is working together now to arrive at a balanced budget that is best for the citizens of Will County.”

The board approved the purchase of the former Social Security Administration building at 158 Scott St. in Joliet because it will reduce lease expenses and pay for itself within several years.  The Board plans to move the land use department into the building and save approximately $230,000 annually in lease expenses.  The 12,000-square-foot building is being purchased for $850,000 and paid from cash reserves.

The county executive submitted his 2013 budget proposal to the board last week.  The board will now work on analyzing and potentially making adjustments to the budget ahead of approving it in November.

“Transparency and public input are two critical keys in drafting a responsible budget,” said Ed Kusta, Jr. (R-Bolingbrook), finance committee chairman.  “Will County practices and encourages both, and this year is no different.  We must be prudent and wise with every taxpayer dollar.”

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