No new taxes for county in 2014
The Harrison County Council, as it has done the past several years, unanimously voted at its regular meeting Monday night at the Government Center in south Corydon to keep the county tax rates as is.
Although, according to council chair Gary Davis, it’s unclear how long the county will be able to continue the annual vote to not raise taxes.
‘The state is bound and determined to make us raise income taxes,’ Davis said.
Because of the tax levy, he said the county could only raise income taxes 1/4 of a percent.
‘But, we have the riverboat,’ Davis said.
So, the county can afford to continue to grow the budget without raising taxes as long as Horseshoe Southern Indiana at Bridgeport keeps bringing in the money.
The council receives a dose of reality each year, as it did Monday night, when it heard from financial adviser Frank Cummings before it delves into the 2014 budget workshops.
Cummings said he didn’t bring good news, because he recommended the budget should stay the same as the year before.
‘I hate to tell you that, but that’s pretty much where we’re at,’ Cummings said.
Last year, the council approved raises of 2 percent for most county employees, and the council subsidized the budget with riverboat gaming and EDIT funds to make up any shortfall from Cummings’ recommendation.
The county has had some budget hearings (and will continue to do so tonight) and set dates for budget workshop meetings for Sept. 10 through 12, 17, 19 and 24 through 26, beginning at 4:45 p.m.
The council hopes to receive completed job descriptions and recommendations from consultant Waggoner, Irwin, Scheele & Associates before making any salary recommendations for 2014.
Auditor Karen Engleman updated the board on the standing of the county general fund, which currently has a balance of more than $1 million. She said she expects the county will again, most likely, need $1 million from the county fund of the Harrison County Community Foundation to avoid being in the red.
Engleman said they’ve made great strides from the past couple of years when the general fund would have already been in the red at this point in the year.
‘It’s much better,’ she said.
Engleman also requested an additional of $10,778 out of her ineligible homestead fund to pay for software and Web hosting for tax information and to eliminate pay stubs for county employees, who will, instead, receive them electronically.
Employees of the Harrison County Highway Dept., however, will still be able to receive their pay stubs, she said.
The other additional appropriations requested were $303,947 for the shortfall in the Emergency Medical Services; $50,000 for the commissioners for care of patients and inmates who have been transferred during the jail renovation project; and $2,500 for office supplies for the commissioners.
Combined with the initial budget, ambulance replacements and the shortfall, Councilman Phil Smith said the county pays more than $1 million per year for its top-of-the-line ambulance service.
The council’s next regular meeting will be Monday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center.