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The County Board recently approved its annual budget for next year, which is balanced and reflects the board’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and making decisions that protect the long-term, fiscal health of the County. The Board’s strong, fiscally conservative budget policies allow the County to manage challenging times, maintain its fiscal stability, as well as maintain our extremely strong AAA credit rating. The 2017 operating budget, which funds the day-to-day operations, is essentially the same as last year, up only less than one percent. In anticipation of potential State funding cuts given the uncertainly of the State budget, County departments cut their budgets by 2% through restructuring and other efficiency measures. Additionally, there are 11 fewer employees than last year, and there are 100 fewer employees than ¬five years ago. These reductions have been made without adversely impacting service levels. The budget continues to invest in our infrastructure, including our transportation system, and the delivery of Lake Michigan Water to the northwest region of the County. Check out our new, reader-friendly on-line budget portal, which provides a walk-through of our budget, including key takeaways, where the money comes and where it goes.