EDWARDSVILLE — The Madison County Board approved the county’s fiscal 2020 budget Wednesday night, along with its property tax levy.

The board voted to approve the upcoming $140 million spending plan that starts on Dec. 1. The board also approved, 28-0, the $30.8 million property tax levy, which remains approximately the same as the County Board approved last year.

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"Actually, the levy is $14,725 less than last year," Chairman Kurt Prenzler said.

Prenzler said both parties worked diligently to balance the budget and keep the levy request the same. The levy is the amount requested from property taxes used to finance the county’s budget.

“For the past three years we’ve managed to lower the levy or keep it the same,” Prenzler said. “During my first year we lowered the levy by $1.8 million and since then it’s stayed flat.”

He said taxes are the No. 1 concern for property owners is taxes and his administration has worked hard to keep the county’s rates low. The tax rate is the number that, when multiplies by the tax base will produce the levy amount.

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“The tax rate equals the tax levy divided by the tax base,” Prenzler said.

In 2016, voters approved a referendum to lower the maximum general fund tax rate from .25 to .20. The general fund makes up about one-third of the county’s total tax levy.

The general fund pays for the majority of personnel costs throughout the county. The upcoming levy includes $8.73 million in general fund monies, which is $1.38 million less than the 2019 levy.

The levy also includes special revenue funds for the Detention Home, Health Department, Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, Social Security Fund, Mental Health, County Historical Museum. Veterans’ Assistance Commission, Highway, Bridge, Matching Tax Funds (grants), Tort Judgement and Liability Insurance.

Other fund sources for the budget include grants and fees.

Prenzler said highlights for the proposed general fund budget include additional personnel for court security, probation, courthouse library, public defender and information technology security. The Sheriff’s Department is also getting new guns, both rifles and pistols with holsters, gas masks and radios.

“My goal since taking office was to lower the levy, keep it flat all while providing more money for public safety,” Prenzler said. “I think that goal has been accomplished.”

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