Veteran aid, marriage license fees on county board agenda

Veteran aid, marriage license fees on county board agenda

URBANA — County board members will consider Tuesday whether to budget money to support a county veterans assistance commission and a possible increase in the fee for marriage licenses or civil unions.

The fee increase is being recommended to help reduce an anticipated shortfall in the county's general-fund balance for the fiscal year beginning Dec. 1. The county board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Brookens Administrative Center, 1776 E. Washington St., U.

The fee for marriage licenses or civil unions in Champaign County is now $30, as established last October. Board members rejected an increase to $75 last year, but county Administrator Deb Busey is again recommending that amount.

Raising it that much would bring the county an additional $49,500 a year, Busey said.

"It's the only fee that provides support to the general corporate fund that the county board has not set at the statutory maximum. To increase any other fees, we would have to conduct a full-blown cost analysis," Busey said. "With the loss of state revenues that we've had, I'm just bringing this back because I feel I'm obligated to let (board members) know that they have the discretion to raise that amount of revenue at least for next year."

Without the fee increase, next year's county general-fund budget is proposed to be about $175,000 in the red.

But Busey noted that the current year's budget was proposed to have a $109,000 deficit, but "we now think it's likely it will be revenue positive."

Also on the agenda is funding for a county veterans assistance commission, which is supposed to make services and benefits available to indigent veterans in the county.

"It's supposed to be for one-time emergency situations for veterans," Busey said. "The county board already has approved a program document which sets out the eligibility requirements to receive assistance and the way that assistance will be distributed. It is never provided in cash, it is provided by giving gift certificates to local merchants or payment vouchers or things like that."

Champaign County is late in establishing the veterans commission, Busey said.

"The law requiring this has been in existence a very long time. We're only one of two counties in the state that doesn't have a county VAC," she said.

The commission will have a budget of $122,500, with the major expenses being $80,000 budgeted for assistance to veterans and $40,500 set aside for the salary of a superintendent. The commission, which will have an office at the Brookens Center, will become effective Dec. 1.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on September 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm

An assistance program for indigent veterans is a great idea.  It would be a good program to fund.  However, another tax source to support the program should be found.  How many children now are being born out of wedlock?  Raising the marriage license fee is another Urbana solution.  Why not fund the veterans program with less statues, less pool features, and finding another tax source?  Is there a requirement to get married in Urbana?  How about a cat, or dog tax?

Molly1 wrote on September 11, 2012 at 11:09 am

Just curious, why tax pet owners for a veterans program?  The two things are completely unrelated.  If you're gonna tax the dog owners for something, tax them for the care of the dog parks, the dog catcher, or something at least related to the canine species.

Wouldn't it make more sense to tax residents whom have never themselves, their parent, their sibling, nor their child served in the Armed Forces of the United States? 

That way the people who take advantage of all our great nation has to offer, those who have chosen not to provide their blood, sweat, and tears to the establishment, continuance, safety and survival of these United States, would atleast pick up some of the costs for the care of the veterans who have given so much to our country.   

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Why tax people getting married for a veterans program?  All of the reasons for taxing to support the program are absurd.  That is why I chose cats, and dogs.  Sure, there is a need for a veterans program.  That money should come from a shared source rather than picking one source.