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2012 budget nearly finalized

The Harrison County Council met briefly Monday night to complete the first public hearing and reading of the 2012 budget.
Council Chair Gary Davis read each section total and plans to do the same at the council’s next regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.
The entire county budget, which includes the county general, riverboat, CEDIT, rainy day and other separate department budgets, totals about $36.5 million.
The main difference in the budget from a year ago is that all county employees’ insurance and benefits have been moved into the county general budget. Davis said this was done so each department head and councilmembers could see exactly how much each department costs the county.
‘Some of the department heads didn’t even know how much their department costs,’ Davis said.
The council also changed the highway budget in riverboat, allowing $4 million for commissioners’ district projects ‘ a cut of $1 million ‘ but adding $2 million for county projects.
Davis said the goal is to have the commissioners decide how they’ll divide the money and which projects to pursue. In the past, he said, the commissioners would spend their allotted $5 million for district projects then come back to the council throughout the year to ask for additional funding for county projects.
‘We’re trying to put a stop to that,’ Davis said.
Davis said he’d like to see the commissioners come up with a plan similar to the fire chiefs’ association, which has a three-year plan for improving fire service equipment for each volunteer department, not to exceed $1 million for two years. The commissioners’ plan would involve more money, but the concept would be similar, Davis said.
‘I’m sure there will be more discussion in the future,’ Davis said.
All of the changes in the budget made the process take significantly longer than previous years. Three weeks of meetings were conducted on the budget alone, not including department head budget explanations, which was another week of meetings for the seven-member board. The board began the process in early September.