Members of the LaGrange County Council adopted a general fund budget of $9.3 million at a special meeting Wednesday morning. The adopted budget is some $258,274 over the expected allowable budget, but the difference is expected to be funded by carryover funds from 2012.
When the budget process started, council was looking at requested amounts of $11,468,274 from the different offices and departments. Much of the excessive $2 million was taken out of the general fund requests and spread around into other funds. Although some cuts were made, most budgets reflect pretty much a carbon copy of 2012 budgets with one exception: County elected officials and employees will receive a 3 percent wage increase in 2013. This is the first increase since 2007.
With the Town of Wolcottville opting out of the plan to have a county nuisance officer enforce ordinances in the town, there was a need to fund the $4,988 part of the nuisance officer’s salary that had been paid by Wolcottville.
It was decided to ask county commissioners to amend the ordinance governing zoning compliance fees to allow for those funds to be used for paying the nuisance officer. Currently those funds are used strictly for paying zoning legal fees. The fund now has a positive balance of some $7,000, which will revert to the general fund at the end of the year.
County Assessor Pat Monroe was called to the meeting to justify the two part-time people in her office that are being paid from reassessment funds. Monroe said that the 2012 reassessment is completed and that the Notice of Assessment forms will be mailed Nov. 16. She asked that the two positions be left intact for 2013 to help with ongoing assessment duties. Council members agreed.
It was pointed out that although the assessor’s office was some three months late in getting 2012 trending information to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF), the DLGF and county auditor’s office now have the process back on schedule so that tax statements for 2013 should be delivered in a timely manner.
County Sheriff Terry Martin asked that an additional $1,000 be paid to one of his jail officers who is in charge of registering and tracking those subject to the sex crimes and violent offender acts. “There is money in the sex and violent offender fund to cover the cost,” he said. The request died for lack of a motion.