McLean County board approves $32.8 million tax levy, new district maps

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McLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — New furniture means a new tax rate for people living in McLean County.

McLean County’s 20 board members voted to approve a $38.2 million tax levy Tuesday night, a move that caused a slight rise in taxes for the county’s taxpayers.

The 0.027% increase in property taxes will help fund the purchase of new furniture at the McLean County Law and Justice Center.

“On the average home it’s about 24 cents, for some people it will be more than that, for some people less,” said District 4 board member, Benjamin Webb.

The $129.1 million budget passed on a 14 to 6 vote despite an attempt from Republican board member, Chuck Erickson, to remove it and keep the tax rate flat or unchanged.

“If you consider that we had a $130 million budget. I proposed we take out $18,500,” Erickson said.

Supporters of the tax increase and funding said county facilities have been underfunded for too long, and that the board is unwilling to spend money on improvements, leading to facilities “being neglected”. However, Erickson said this just isn’t true and pointed to a $28 million in the county’s budget from 2011-2021.

Erickson said during that time period, the county constructed the new jail and funded a county-wide mental health initiative.

“It has nothing to do with being tight with money, it’s just we had priorities that we thought we had to do, and we made sure we did them,” Erickson said.

Webb, who voted yes on the levy, said replacing the furniture now prevents the issue from becoming larger in the future.

“We want to try and make sure that taxpayers’ money is spent well, but we also don’t want to make it three or four years down the road,” Webb said. “We’re being more proactive, and we’re doing so, so that we’re going to save taxpayers money in the long run.”

County District Maps:

The county board also approved its district maps for the next decade Tuesday. This is done every 10 years after the census.

Board members voted on one of three options Tuesday. The three options came from an independent group called the Red, White and Blue Commission.

It’s a group of 24 people divided into three groups, each tasked with drawing a map and each group being led by a retired Judge.

Board members voted to approve the Red group’s map; with all the Democrats minus Hannah Beer approving it. Republicans, Josh Barnett and Randall Martin voted with Democrats on the red maps. Republicans mostly voted on the white map, including Erickson.

Webb said the new maps are more compact than the ones planned out in 2010.

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