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March 27, 2012

Clark County gets $14.5M

Certified Budget Order returned at requested amount

CLARK COUNTY — Indiana’s Department of Local Government Finance returned Clark County’s certified budget order recently, matching the $14.5 million figure submitted by the Clark County Council.

There were a few minor changes, which included an alteration in the bond debt rate, made to the preliminary budget — called a 1782 notice — sent to the county earlier in the month.

Despite the county receiving the full amount it approved in October — down from the $20.7 million requested from various department heads —

the expectation is that its spending will be at a minimum.

Outstanding expenses

In 2011, the DLGF returned a certified budget amount of $11.8 million to the county. Unable to cover expenses on the amount returned, the county was mandated to pay for court and the sheriff’s department operations, which added $3.2 million to the operational funds. Between the certified budget order and the mandates, the county operated off of $15 million in 2011, $500,000 more than what was approved this year.

Clark County Councilman Chuck Moore said he would not be surprised if the county had to issue another mandate this year to cover expenses.

“I doubt that it’s possible to operate off that $14.5 million,” he said. “I don’t feel bad about doing a mandate.”

Clark County Councilman Brian Lenfert said expenses that don’t fit within the $14.5 million budget include costs for county employee health insurance, jail operations, the Clark County prosecutor’s office, juvenile detention and the county’s building authority.

“There’s about $3 million additional expenses the county needs to fund,” he said.

Portions of the jail operating costs are likely to be covered by Local Option Income Tax funds and Department of Corrections funds, but will still leave about a $600,000 shortfall, Lenfert said. In addition, the county’s Economic Development Income Tax may be used to cover a portion of the Building Authority’s anticipated $860,000 in expenses, as well as other county expenses.

If there is a shortfall, Moore said he doesn’t think the county will have to mandate for the same amount it did last year.

“I think we can get by with one or the other,” he said.

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