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State money will restore cash balance

The Harrison County Council Monday night briefly discussed the extra funding that will be distributed to Indiana counties after state officials under-distributed local income taxes in 2011 and 2012.
Council Chairman Gary Davis said the money, estimated to be about $700,000 for Harrison County, will go into the county’s CAGIT and CEDIT funds.
The disbursement into the CAGIT fund will be shared with each local taxing unit in the county, including towns, but the funding going into the CEDIT fund will go into the county general fund to help restore the cash balance, Davis said.
‘We don’t know for sure exactly how much money we’re going to get,’ he said.
Last week, state officials announced that, due to a calculation error in the Department of Revenue, the state has been under-distributing local income taxes for distributions in 2011 and January through April in 2012. The error occurred through a misapplication of estimated payments, which occurred on about 11 percent of taxpayers. The State Budget Agency discovered the error as the disparity between the collections (the quarterly report) and distributions (county statistical report) grew.
According to a release from the Association of Indiana Counties, counties will receive two checks in the next few days (the release was published last week) for the 2011 amount and the four months in 2012. The total amount to be sent out equals about $206 million plus interest.
Gov. Mitch Daniels ordered an independent audit of the Department of Revenue, and staff changes have been made.
In other business Monday, the council unanimously agreed to send $100,000 for tornado relief from riverboat gaming funds to five Southern Indiana counties. The transaction will not go through the Harrison County Community Foundation as was requested by the board of commissioners.
At the end of the meeting, Auditor Karen Engleman asked if the council wanted to do anything with Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye’s request for raises for his three front-office workers. The board did not take action on the matter because it is waiting on job description paperwork to be completed.
‘As far as I’m concerned, we should turn this down,’ Davis said, adding that the council shouldn’t look at salaries except at budget time, which begins in July.
Councilman Jim Heitkemper agreed.
‘It sets a bad precedent,’ he said.
Davis said it would open up a ‘can of worms’ to address these three salaries outside of budget time.
Councilman Richard Gerdon said the sheriff’s request is different because he found a way to save money and pay for it with transfers, not additional county general money.
Davis said that’s true for this year, but not for next year and so on. Next year, the salary upgrade would have to be placed in the budget.
The council’s next meeting ‘ with a $300,000-plus additional for Palmyra Volunteer Fire Department and a $250,000 additional for ambulance shortfall to be voted on ‘ will be Monday, April 23, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in Corydon.

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