A Chicago government review group has endorsed DuPage County’s proposed $435 million 2012 budget in recognition of its efforts to cut spending and hold its property tax levy steady.

The proposed budget would mark the third consecutive year that the county has cut spending.

The Civic Federation of Chicago praised the county for attempting to save money by modernizing its personnel policies.

For non-union employees, sick day accrual will be limited and vacation day carryover and cash-out will be curtailed. Headcount will reduced by just two. Personnel costs represent 64% of the county’s operating budget and are expected to rise even with the changes.

The review also praised DuPage’s exploration of a possible consolidation of youth home services with other suburban counties.

“When best practices are followed, consolidation of services between governments can bring residents better and more cost-effective programs,” said federation president Laurence Msall.

The praise was tempered by concerns over future fiscal performance due to economic uncertainty.

The group recommended that the county adopt a performance measurement system that would keep taxpayers and policymakers informed about how well county programs perform compared to expectations.

The federation also recommends that the county adopt a formal capital improvement plan to keep taxpayers informed about progress and priorities and a formal long-term planning process that involves input from policymakers and stakeholders.

The top-rated county is located just west of Chicago.

“DuPage County is in relatively good fiscal shape given Illinois’ continuing economic challenges,” Msall said. “But the county can do a better job of anticipating and planning for ongoing financial pressures.”

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