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Council hears 2013 budget presentations

 

Members of the LaGrange County Council started a two-day meeting Monday morning. During the meeting, county office holders and department heads will be making their budget requests for 2013.

    Most budgets have included the county commissioner suggested raise of $2,000 annually for full-time employees.

    Superior Court Judge George Brown presented a $242,000 budget for 2013, up from $184,000 in 2012. Many salaries in 2012 were transferred to other funds by the council last year and will need to come back to county general in 2013 because of an insufficient amount of money in those funds for 2013.

    Sheriff Terry Martin presented a combined sheriff and jail budget for 2013 of about $3.281 million. Last year’s combined approved budget was $2.794 million.

    Most of Martin’s increase is in salaries and the addition of two new jail officers who will be assigned to courthouse security. There are currently about 75 inmates in the jail, down considerably from the 160 that were being housed when there were large numbers from the Indiana Department of Corrections.

    A bright spot in the budget process is the communications department, where the county general fund portion of the budget is down from $187,000 in 2012 to $149,000 for 2013. This drop will be possible because of the new funding being received from the Statewide 911 telephone fund. This is expected to fund $473,833 of the 2013 dispatch budget.

    County Assessor Pat Monroe noted that her request for a chief deputy has been denied three times. She is asking for a chief deputy again in the 2013 budget. Other than that request, there is little change in the requested assessor budget for 2013.

    In the reassessment budget for 2013, Monroe asked for $45,000 to pay the first year of a six-year contract with “Pictometry.” This company supplies fly-over pictures of land improvements and gives the assessor four-sided views of all buildings in the county. The total cost for this service under a six-year contract will be about $250,000 and includes three of the fly-over events.

    The commissioners’ budget of $2.8 million is up from $1.78 million in 2012. The largest part of this increase is $800,000 in health insurance and $50,000 in general insurance plus other items that were taken from other fund accounts in 2012.