PEORIA — County Board members approved adding $68,500 to Auditor Jessica Thomas' budget.

The increase will provide the office with one additional employee, as well as restoring funding for travel, professional dues and memberships and an increase for office supplies.

That increase to just under $256,000 will leave Thomas with two employees in addition to herself and, board members emphasized, bring her budget roughly in line with the average for other downstate counties with small or mid-sized cities.

Thomas, though, had sought a larger increase of $338,060 to her existing budget.

She suggested that decreases to the office's budget in recent years have been part of an effort to defund the office by board members who favored making it appointive until that effort was defeated by voters last year.

"I hope you guys do vote on this pittance of a budget that you're allowing me, but it's not sufficient," she told members early in the meeting, during a public comment session in which several members of the community supported increasing her budget.

Thomas pledged to be back asking for additional increases.

Board member Allen Mayer, who chairs the county's ways and means committee that oversees the auditor's budget, cast the vote as a compromise.

"I think the product you have before you tonight is the product of that democratic process and our attempt to be good fiscal stewards," he said, noting that many other departments and elected officials had seen their budgets and head count reduced in recent years.

The measure passed 17-1, with board member Greg Adamson opposed.