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Council halts additional appropriations

Ross Schulz, Staff Writer

Taking part in a rare doubleheader following the county commissioners’ all-day meeting, the Harrison County Council met Monday night and discussed limitations on providing additional appropriations until the county’s tax rates are reported.
Auditor Karen Engleman said her office has always held the additionals, even if approved, until the tax rates are finalized, but now there’s even more stipulations. So, the council had no additional appropriations advertised and it’s unclear when it will begin to vote on additionals.
The board briefly spoke about writing a letter to each department head to inform them of the additional appropriation issue.
Council Chair Gary Davis said each line of the budget needs to be reviewed to see if a shortfall, similar to what occurred last year, will happen again in 2012.
In 2011, the council needed to dip into the Harrison County Community Foundation’s Community Fund because the estimated revenue for the county was too high, at more than $8.8 million, when the actual revenue for the year was only about $7.5 million.
The council’s financial adviser, Frank Cummings, estimated that a $500,000 shortfall could occur this year.
The council has a few pending additionals that have yet to be advertised, including about $89,000 for a stormwater implementation and demonstration project and $5,000 for Circuit Court Clerk Sherry Brown for extra manpower for this year’s elections.
‘I really feel like this election is going to be unprecedented in turnout,’ Brown said.
In other business, the council signed an agreement with Mike Summers to continue counsel services for 2012, totaling $16,000.
Also, veteran services officer Marion Wallace asked to have a resolution or ordinance created so his office can accept donations from individuals and organizations. Wallace said the fund is needed to replace one of his two vans, which transports veterans who have difficulties with transportation to their V.A. medical appointments.
‘The van program has risen from about 10 riders nine years ago to about 115 riders at present,’ Wallace said. ‘It’s a wonderful program. It’s important.’
Being the first meeting of the year, the council again voted to make Davis its chairman and Phil Smith vice chair.
The council also made its yearly board appointments, all of which were re-appointments as follows: Ralph Sherman, 4-H Council and Economic Development board; Smith, Alternative Education Center board, Lifelong Learning board and Solid Waste board; Richard Gerdon, Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County board; Davis, Economic Development Corp. board; Chris Timberlake, Emergency Management Agency board; Jim Heitkemper, Family and Children board and Harrison County Plan Commission; Nina Faith, Property Tax Board of Appeals; Gordon Pendleton, River Hills board; and Kenny Saulman, Public Works board.
The council tabled an appointment to the Alcohol Beverage Control board.
The next meeting of the council will be Monday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in Corydon.