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May 10, 2013

County departments to be billed for insurance

Clark County Commissioners blame council for zeroing out budget

JEFFERSONVILLE —

The Clark County Commissioners unanimously voted at their Thursday meeting to pass property and casualty insurance-related costs to the county’s department heads in lieu of declaring another emergency to pay the bills out of the county’s cumulative capital fund. 

“The reason we made the decision is because the county council zeroed out our insurance premium account,” Commissioners President Jack Coffman said. “We have no money in that account now to make those payments for workman’s comp and our property and casualty liability [insurance].”

The commissioners had voted to declare an emergency at its April 28 meeting to pay $193,213 out of the cumulative capital fund — which the commissioners control — for workers’ compensation and general liability insurance premiums, as the deadline to pay those bills was the next day and non-payment would have resulted in a lapse of coverage. 

“Now we have another premium coming due here in May, so we determined since we do not have the money in that account, that we would relay that cost onto the department heads and then the department heads can go to the county council for an extra appropriation for their portion of what that premium is,” Coffman said. 

The commissioners said it is the responsibility of the county council to pay for things like insurance out of the county’s general fund, and said that the Indiana State Board of Accounts had written up the county in the past for violating state statute by using the cumulative capital fund as a second general fund. 

“It is not the commissioners’ responsibility as the executive and legislative branch to do the fiscal matters that need to be done in Clark County. That is the county council’s responsibility,” Commissioner John Perkins said. “If they would like for the commissioners to do the county budget, maybe we would agree to do it for them, but that’s their responsibility. They set the budget, and then that’s it.”

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