Posted on

Council reviews overtime budgets

In the last four years, six departments have gone over budget in their overtime line, a committee appointed by Harrison County Councilman Carl (Buck) Mathes reported Monday night.
Overtime has become a hot topic for the council, with many different departments asking for additional appropriations for overtime pay. The committee looked at county departments that have gone over the allotted overtime budget since 2003.
‘Basically, there are six departments that had gone over, only two had consistently gone over,’ said councilwoman Rhonda Rhoads.
The two departments that have consistently gone over the budget are the sheriff’s department and the jail. The jail has spent $54,054.51 on overtime for 2007. The council budgeted $25,000 for overtime pay.
‘They (jail) spent $54,000, and generated $400,000,’ said councilman Gordon Pendleton. ‘Personally, I’d throw that out the window.’
The jail takes state prisoners, which has generated the county more than $400,000 in 2007.
‘The problem is, there’s not enough people out there,’ said Rhoads.
‘That’s probably because of the turnover,’ said councilwoman Leslie Robertson. ‘We’re not paying enough at the jail.’
‘I’d hate to see that kind of turnover with teachers or the highway department,’ said Rhoads.
The highway department was well over budget in 2003, spending $65,796.11, with just $34,592 budgeted. But, in 2006, that department spent $25,820.62, just over half of the $50,000 budgeted by the council.
‘We’re at the mercy of nature on that,’ said Rhoads.
Mathes’ plan is to keep the sheriff’s department, jail and the highway department on overtime pay but use compensation time to pay for employees in other departments.
‘You’re going to have people griping no matter what you pay,’ said Pendleton. ‘It’s human nature.’
Department officials can ask the Harrison County Commissioners for compensation time instead of overtime pay.
‘Comp time is an unfunded liability by the county,’ said Shawn Donahue, legal counsel.
Mathes conceded that the county will continue to pay overtime, not compensation time, saying the council does not have the jurisdiction to change it.
In other matters Monday night, the council granted a five-year tax abatement to ICON Metal Forming in Corydon. The $3.5 million investment in manufacturing equipment will hire an additional 13 employees to join its workforce of 437. The investment is expected to result in $500,000 in wages. ICON asked for a 10-year abatement, but the council approved a five-year abatement.
‘You have two 10-year abatements for equipment,’ Mathes said. ‘I didn’t like it very much when we approved that.
‘You’re the only one with 10-year (abatements),’ he said. ‘I personally like five-year (abatements), because we collect the taxation quicker. I’m reluctant to give any more 10-year abatements because it could be phased out in eight years, and the county doesn’t get much taxation back.’
The council approved the abatement with a 4-2 vote, with Pendleton and Rhoads voting against. Pendleton favored giving a 10-year abatement.
Also on Monday:
‘ Tom Tucker, representing the Harrison County Public Library Board, asked the council to re-appoint Linda Zabel to the library board. The council is one of three bodies that make a board appointment to the county’s library board when a term expires.
‘She’s a very capable person, a former librarian,’ said Tucker.
‘I see no problem with what you’re asking,’ said Mathes.
The council will make all of its appointments on Dec. 26, the last meeting of the year.
‘ The county commissioners asked the council for a transfer of $2,500 for part-time labor at the animal control facility. The department has been shorthanded and has hired more people for help, according to Goldman.
‘ The council approved two additional appropriations Monday night: $800 for overtime in the Auditor’s Office and $10,281 in capital outlays for the Assessor’s Office.