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November 12, 2013

Floyd County approves YMCA payment

Transfers, additional appropriations scrutinized

NEW ALBANY — While some questioned when the annual pledge is actually due, the Floyd County Council approved its $137,000 obligation to the YMCA of Southern Indiana Tuesday night.

The city and county both agreed to pay $137,000 annually for 16 years for the YMCA, which is titled the Scribner Place Project. It was reported recently that the city covered its payment, and the county’s portion earlier in the year, which is what led council members to question when the payment is actually due.

Councilwoman Lana Aebersold said the county needs to promptly make its payment each year and not put it on the back burner. She said people talk to her about the issue and she is tired of getting bad press.

However, Councilman Steve Burks said the contract does not specify when the payment is due. He said since it was signed in June, he said that is when the payment in his opinion should be made.

Council President John Schellenberger said since the payment to the YMCA is taken out of the riverboat fund, it is set aside each year and not in danger of not being paid. He said payment was made at the same time for the past two years. The county just received its final riverboat appropriation of the year totaling $200,000.

Six council members voted in favor of the appropriation while Councilman Brad Striegel abstained.

The Horseshoe Foundation has made 11 annual installments of $1 million, and will make nine more $1 million payments to complete its $20 million commitment to the YMCA project. Horseshoe makes its payment to the YMCA each January.

Budget scrutiny

Since the county is staring at a $2.9 million budget shortfall for 2014, the council no longer rubber stamps transfers and questions each additional appropriation.

That was the case Tuesday night. Floyd County Circuit Court Judge Terrence Cody requested $5,000 in an additional appropriation to cover law books.

Cody said his budget for law books is cut each year which means he always has to return and ask for additional appropriations at the end of the year. While he asked for $5,000, the council approved $3,000 — a figure Cody said he will try to make do.

The council recently approved a plan to cut all contractual services and supplies by 25 percent for all offices. However, Floyd County Clerk Christy Eurton told council members Tuesday it would have been easier if each officeholder had been given a day to make their own cuts instead of just making an across-the-board cut. She said she deals with six different budgets.

“There were line items that were cut that couldn’t be cut so I will have to be back here each month asking for additional funds. It just requires more work,” she said.

However, council members said they are trying to soften the blow that is coming early next year which could include layoffs or furloughs.

“I appreciate your frustration,” Councilman Jim Wathen said. “But keep in mind we passed a budget that has a $2 million hole in it. All we are trying to do is lessen the pain.”

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