BELLEVILLE — Reflecting a slightly improved revenue picture, the 2013 St. Clair County annual budget approved Monday night shows a 1.33 increase over the current year.
Mark Kern, the County Board chairman, presented the board with a spending plan that calls for total expenditures of more than $186 million for the fiscal year that begins Jan. 1.
This compares to the $183.6 million overall budget the board approved a year ago.
"As you see, this is a pretty austere budget," Kern told board members during a public hearing before the start of the County Board's regular monthly meeting.
The current year's budget represented an 11-percent cut from 2011, which in turn represented a 17-percent cut from the previous two years.
The board also approved a property tax levy of $57.13 million, which is the total amount of money the county estimates it will need to pay for operations that can be funded through property taxes.
Meanwhile, the county General Fund -- the county's primary source of discretionary spending -- rose to $35.02 million, or an increase of 1.2 percent compared to the 2012 general fund budget of $34.6 million.
As he did last year, County Board member Craig Hubbard, R-O'Fallon, sponsored an amendment to slash the county's contribution to the East St. Louis Board of Election commissioners.
Hubbard's proposal called for the county to pay the election board only what state statute called for, or a total of $29,600. In contrast, the county budget had allocated $115,572 to the election board.
Brendan Kelly, the county state's attorney, said the county is obligated under state law to pay the amount earmarked in the budget.
"In the event we were to not do it, we would be compelled by the court to do it," Kelly said.
In a party line vote, the Democratic-controlled County Board shot down Hubbard's amendment 18-7.
Voting for Hubbard's measure were Hubbard and six of the board's other Republican members.
Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at email@example.com or 239-2533.