The Lake County Illinois Board approved a $597.7 million dollar budget for fiscal 2023 and passed it unanimously.

The new levy is flat as described by the board. While last year’s levy was $163.5 million and the new one is $168.6 million, the $5 million dollar increase is due to funding needs of the Lake County Veterans Assistance Commission, which is not the same as the board. The allocation was necessary to provide services to our veterans and follows a mandate by the Illinois General Assembly that passed last summer.

Member Paul Frank stated, “That $5 million is not for the county, it’s for the Veterans Assistance Commission. That is the VAC’s budget, which they have legislative authority to set on their own. When property taxpayers in Lake County get their bills, they will see a new line for the Veterans Assistance Commission, and that’s where their portion of that (tax) will show up.”

Chair Sandy Hart said in an interview with the Tribune, “We’re trying to be really efficient stewards of taxpayers’ money, and to make sure that we’re working as efficiently as we possibly can. And I think this budget is great. If you want to understand what people value, you follow the money.” Hart added, “we’re putting more money than before in stormwater and making sure our veterans feel supported, and investing in infrastructure, which brings more jobs and more businesses to Lake County.”

The buget also addressed the needs of the departments which the county is responsible for and to be capable of funding contingencies. With the recent rise in the cost of commodities, such continencies need to be considered.