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Council nears 2014 budget completion

The Harrison County Council continues to make its way through the budget process for next year. It has met a number of times already in budget deliberations and will continue to do so today (Wednesday) and tomorrow, beginning at 4:30 p.m., at the Government Center in south Corydon.
Councilman Phil Smith said they have completed the county general budget and will now move into the health, highway and riverboat budgets. He said he expects to be done by the end of the week with possibly one more meeting the following week to clean up the budget.
The council has decided to give those employees that qualify a 1-percent raise from this year’s salary or hourly wage. Not everyone will qualify for the increase because the council will follow the job classification and compensation project, which called for raises for some positions and cuts for others. The council will not cut anyone’s salary, but, if the position was deemed overpaid by Waggoner Irwin and Scheele & Associates, no raise will be given until the position’s value catches up to its current rate.
Others may receive more than a 1-percent raise if the position was categorized as underpaid by the study.
A 1-percent increase will be given to all other employees on their base pay.
The net cost to the budget will be $95,000, according to Council Chair Gary Davis.
‘It’s the first year we’re doing it, so it’s taking a little more time,’ Smith said of the compensation plan.
Still in the budget for next year is health insurance for the county council at a cost of just more than $37,000. The board of commissioners recently voted to not allow part-time elected officials the option of health insurance, but those already in office can keep it until their term is up or until their next term, should they successfully run for re-election.
Other than the county council and commissioners, part-time elected officials include the coroner and surveyor.
Only three councilmembers, Richard Gerdon, Jim Heitkemper and Ralph Sherman, receive insurance from the county, as does coroner Rusty Sizemore.
The council also discussed the election board budget (about $170,000), which will be up significantly over this year because 2014 will be an election year.
Auditor Karen Engleman and Councilwoman Sherry Brown said extra ballots should be ordered with the expectation of a large county turnout with the sheriff, prosecutor, auditor and treasurer positions up for grabs. Four council seats ‘ District 1 (Phil Smith), District 2 (Gary Davis), District 3 (Gordon Pendleton) and District 4 (Ralph Sherman) ‘ and one commissioner seat, District 3 (Jim Klinstiver), also will be on the ballot.
The council’s next regular meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. (moved from Monday due to Columbus Day) at the Government Center.