9/28/2017 3:00:00 PM County Council finalizes 2018, will re-visit pay raises for employees
The Switzerland County Council met on Wednesday, September 13th, and held discussion and its public meeting on the county's 2018 Budget.
Jacque Clements with the Association of Indiana Counties, who works with counties around the state on the budget process, passed out three budget reports for the council to review.
The first contained budget notes and previous year comparisons. She pointed out that, starting in 2018, Mental Health will no longer have a levy. The amount due them will be part of the General Fund budget. This will guarantee that they receive the amount they should receive ($44,977 in 2018), but no extra as they have sometimes received in the past. The extra has been in the form of excise tax, CVET and FIT distributions. With this change those monies will be retained by the County.
The second report showed the maximum levy the county is allowed in 2018 ($2,410,205). It broke down all of the funds that receive a levy with the estimated amount for each. The grand total is over the maximum by $26,577.00.
Clements recommended the excess be deducted from the operating balance figure for Reassessment so that the state doesn't automatically take the excess out of the General Fund. This will not change the Reassessment budget for 2018, only the balance they should have on December 31st, 2018.
The last report shows the cash flow for each of the budgeted funds. All of the funds have a sufficient balance as of December 31st, 2018, except Juvenile Probation. They are showing a negative of ($741.84). Due to the fact that this fund has not had any activity year to date, is used infrequently, and it is such a small amount this is nothing to be concerned about. Money can be moved into the fund if necessary.
After some discussion, Council member Elizabeth Jones made a motion to reduce the operating balance for Reassessment in order to come in under the maximum levy. Council member John Gary Welch seconded the motion and all agreed.
County Auditor Gayle Rayles said that, due to the fact that the method she had used to project the December 31st, 2018 balance showed just $51,000 and with the changes Clements had recommended, that the county would end next year with an operating balance of over $450,000.
Rayles respectfully requested that the council reconsider pay increases for the county employees.
The consensus of the council was that there would be sufficient money to give raises. After much discussion on a flat percentage increase as has been done the past several years, a flat increase for everyone or developing a matrix similar to the sheriff's department, Council member Glenn Scott suggested a special meeting to work on this issue. The date for the meeting needs to be prior to the next regular meeting, and will be worked out through emails.
In other business discussed by the County Council:
- County Commissioner Mark Lohide, who also serves as the President of the Switzerland County School Endowment Corporation, was present and said that Endowment member Adam Cole, who could not attend the meeting, had reviewed the by-laws and had several suggestions for changes. Most have to do with wording. For example the by-laws refer to telegrams which are no longer used. Another change is to state more clearly that school board members are not eligible to serve on the School Endowment.
Rayles will put the Endowment on the October agenda when Cole can be present.
- Lohide, now addressing the council as a commissioner, explained the condition of the highway department dump trucks.
There are nine truck and he would like to replace them three each year for the next three years. He's been looking at Freightliners, which would cost approximately $131,000.00 each. It takes six months from the date ordered to receive the truck. Council member Andy Haskell asked about leasing but Mark said due to the miles he didn't know if that was a good option, but would look into it.
Council member Mike Bear asked about paying for the trucks out of commissioners' casino revenue. Lohide said the commissioners paid for the chip and seal this year so they will probably need help paying for the trucks. There was a discussion on the Community Crossing Grant money the highway department is hoping to receive helping with the trucks. If the county receives it, the money must go for the project specifically requested for in the grant.
Lohide also mentioned that the county will need three new mowers with side arms. A discussion followed.
Scott mentioned committing the casino revenue the county receives, over the amount budgeted, to the purchase of the trucks. Rayles said she is preparing the September supplemental distribution and after the October money is received she will know how much money is in excess of the budget amount.
In the last two years the amount has been about $250,000.00.