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Daily Journal
     June 26, 2020      #33-178 KDJ

County finances are in relative good shape 

By Chris Breach

KANKAKEE — Although sales tax revenues are down due to coronavirus-related closures, county leaders say they been able to stay in the black by keeping expenses in check.

"From a cash flow standpoint, we have been receiving all the [federal] and state payments as usual," Steve McCarty, county finance director, said at Thursday's finance committee meeting. "We're starting to see some of the changes. ... Right now, it looks like we've made it through the worst of the worst. It is a little bit tight right now but nothing to be concerned about."

The fiscal year 2020's budgeted revenue was $36,413,839. The revenue estimate is now $32,475,413. With estimated expenses at $35,571,240, that's means a shortfall of $95,827. The county has a current fund balance of $1,411,105. 

"At this point, I believe we'll be at or near, potentially below, break-even for the year, which might be good compared to everything that is going on," McCarty said. "If things come in over the next few months and it's worse, then we'll probably have to start talking about it." 

McCarty's cash flow analysis showed an estimated total cash inflow of $4,340,660 for June and a total cash outflow of $3,582,013. July's estimate for cash inflow is $8,561,661 compared to an outflow of $5,392,609.

July's numbers are bolstered by $6,036,661 in property tax distribution and $1,725,000 in inmate bed rental.

"I just want to acknowledge the dramatic and profound impact that the sheriff and his chief of corrections have had in limiting expense while we've had a revenue downturn," said County Board Chairman Andy Wheeler of the Jerome Combs Detention Center. "It's very much appreciated of the professional management of the situation out there both in terms of public health and the expense and the revenue situations."

Wheeler said Sheriff Mike Downey has kept staffing expenses down in relation to the inmate population and hasn't exceeded budget limitations.

McCarty's income tax analysis showed $295,513 for March fiscal year 2020, which was an increase of $18,467 compared to fiscal year 2019 of $277,046. For April in fiscal year 2020, it was $289,335, which is a sharp decrease from fiscal year 2019's $576,295.

County sales tax distributed by the state has also seen a sharp decline from 2019 to 2020 for the past three months. Taxes collected in January of 2020 was $289,634 compared to $318,836 in 2019 (-9%); February 2020 was $282,235 compared to $299,915 in 2019 (-6%); and March 2020 was $281,667 compared to $354,471 in 2019 (-21%).

"I'm very optimistic that we'll come out of this OK, and potentially not drop below that $1 million threshold [in the general fund] that the board set [to take action]," McCarty said. "That's a quick overview of a lot of information. ... We could all have a different opinion on what the sales tax numbers will be, what the income tax numbers and etc. We're just trying to use the best information that we have until the actuals show up."

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