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.