2017 Budget Order, Tax Rates, and Tax Levies Approved for Monroe County

Monroe County Courthouse at Night
Monroe County Courthouse at Night

Today Monroe County received its budget order for 2017 from the state, which includes:

  • The budgets for all taxing units (i.e., county, cities and towns, school districts, townships, public library, special units)
  • The property tax levies and tax rates for all taxing units
  • The property tax rates for each taxing district (i.e., the tax rates that actually affect each property owner)

Here is a chart showing the 2017 property tax rates by taxing district (along with the 2013-2016 rates for comparison):

screenshot-2017-02-12-19-48-06

As usual, the Ellettsville districts (the parts of Richland and Bean Blossom Townships within the incorporated boundary of the town of Ellettsville) have the highest tax rates in the County (the Bloomington City – Richland Township district is a very tiny, commercial-only area), with the Bloomington rates next in line.

However, in a departure from previous years, Washington Township no longer has the lowest property rates (that honor now belongs to Indian Creek Township). In fact, both Washington Township and Bloomington Township (the part of Bloomington Township outside of the City of Bloomington) had substantial tax rate increases in 2017 because of the newly established Northern Monroe Fire Territory.

The full budget order can be found here: monroe-county-2017-certified-budget-order

County Council to Adopt 2017 Budget Tuesday and Wednesday

2016 County Council MembersOn Tuesday (10/11/2016) and Wednesday (10/12/2016), the County Council will adopt Monroe County’s 2017 budget. Tuesday will feature first reading of the budget, including council discussion and public comment. Wednesday will feature final adoption of the budget. In addition to adopting the budget, the Council will also be adopting the 2017 property tax rates and levies, as well as the 2017 salary ordinance for county employees.

The Council is considering a $67,975,340 overall budget for 2017. This is spread across 51 different funds, the General Fund being the largest by a long shot, at $32,059,390.

There are a few numbers in the state Gateway system that are still being corrected this morning, so I’m not yet publishing the complete list of budgets and tax rates and levies (but will later this morning).

Here is the General Fund budget to be adopted by the Council tonight and tomorrow night:

Monroe County 2017 General Fund Budget for Adoption
Monroe County 2017 General Fund Budget for Adoption

Note: This chart is $2 off from the official Gateway numbers to be adopted, due to differences in rounding methodology, but it shows the budget in a more compact form than the official Gateway reports.

I’ll publish more numbers as they are available, including the proposed tax rates and levies, and the Public Safety Local Income Tax budget.

Budget Adoption begins tonight (Tuesday) at 5:30 PM in the Nat U Hill room of the Monroe County Courthouse. Public comment will be taken, and the meeting will be broadcast on CATS. The budget adoption meeting will be followed by a regular meeting of the Monroe County Council.

What Are the Spending Priorities of the County?

Monroe County Courthouse at Night
Monroe County Courthouse at Night

The Monroe County Council is in the middle of budget hearings for 2017, so it seems an ideal time to talk about what the county spends money on. It is almost a truism that budgets reflect priorities, and to some degree that is accurate. I’ve always struggled with representing the county budget, though, in a manner that actually does reflect county spending priorities, rather than the statutory requirements of various funding sources, grant availability, and so on. A better picture of spending priorities, in my mind, consists of those expenditures among which tradeoffs can be made, and I’ve included a chart of these expenditures by department below.

In order to do that, I included all of the budgets under the so-called “frozen levy“. In essence, these are the budgets that the County Council can make priority decisions. As an example, Monroe County’s total adopted budget was $63,165,714 in 2016. However, a substantial portion of this includes highway funds, which can’t be spent for any purpose other than roads. So although roads are a critical priority for county government, I didn’t include them in this table, because road funding can’t be traded off against any other funding. I also included voter registration and election costs because, although not actually part of the General Fund or the frozen levy, these functions are entirely dependent on cash that would otherwise go to the General Fund (or other funds in the frozen levy).

There is another very important caveat to these numbers: they reflect the operational costs of running county government. Capital items, with the one exception of the Cumulative Bridge Fund, which is included in this data, are almost entirely funded through other means, including the Cumulative Capital Development fund or bonds, both of which are supported by additional property tax levies.

So here is how Monroe County prioritizes tax revenues, based on the 2017 budget so far. Budget hearings are still ongoing, however, so these numbers can and will change as budgeting decisions are made.

Screenshot 2016-09-02 13.02.26
Snapshot of Monroe County 2017 budget requests for functions in the frozen levy, plus election and voter registration costs, midway through 2017 budget hearings, in descending order of budget amount

Proposed 2017 Monroe County Budget

2016 County Council MembersAs I mentioned earlier today, Monroe County begins its annual hearings  for the 2017 budget tonight at 5PM. Below are the proposed budgets and tax levies that have been advertised for consideration. (*)

Each fund is listed separately. Money from each fund generally can’t be intermingled (with a few exceptions). The Budget Estimate column is the total estimated budget for that fund for 2017. The Maximum Levy column is the maximum amount of property taxes that can be  collected from this fund. Current Tax Levy is the 2016 property tax levy for the fund. Funds that have a 0 in the levy columns are supported by sources of funds other than property tax, including income taxes, fees for service, fines, hotel bed taxes, etc.

The only exceptions are the three Economic Development funds — Westside, 46 Corridor, and Fullerton Pike. These are the three county tax increment finance (TIF) districts, and so the revenues collected are property taxes — however the money that goes into the TIF  districts are property taxes that otherwise would go into other units and funds — the county general, townships, etc.

The other thing to note is that the actual budgets and property tax levies that get adopted will be at or below these advertised budgets and levies. The Council is only allowed to reduce budgets during budget hearings, not increase them — hence the standard practice of “advertising high” to give the Council some flexibility during budget hearings.

The total budget advertised across all funds is $73,716,871. By comparison, the actual budget adopted in 2016 was $63,165,714. I would anticipate that the advertised $73M will be brought down during budget hearings.

The largest change in this budget from previous years is the inclusion of the budget for the Public Safety Local Option Income Tax (PS-LOIT), which is advertised at $3,751,926, well over the revenue that the PS-LOIT would actually generate. In addition, because of procedural issues that I don’t have time right now to get into detail on, the PS-LOIT for 2017 has not actually been adopted or approved by the state. The Council will have to be very cautious about budgeting for this fund, and any decisions made will be contingent upon final approval by the state of the PS-LOIT.

Advertised 2017 Monroe County Budget and Levies:

Fund Name Budget Estimate Maximum Levy Current Tax Levy
0101-GENERAL $34,554,828 $17,087,500 $16,388,259
0102-ELECTION/REGISTRATION $493,839 $0 $0
0124-2015 REASSESSMENT $721,063 $650,000 $495,413
0181-DEBT PAYMENT $1,009,000 $1,009,000 $1,413,578
0182-BOND #2 $2,040,000 $2,040,000 $1,908,991
0183-BOND #3 $1,030,000 $1,515,000 $0
0616-CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU $1,979,937 $0 $0
0702-HIGHWAY $5,464,930 $0 $0
0706-LOCAL ROAD & STREET $2,087,050 $0 $0
0790-CUMULATIVE BRIDGE $489,632 $1,406,973 $1,406,973
0801-HEALTH $1,242,199 $535,000 $535,046
1310-PARK NONREVERTING – CAPITAL $60,000 $0 $0
2002-COUNTY FAIR $105,270 $105,000 $85,872
2102-AVIATION/AIRPORT $957,490 $500,000 $429,358
2391-CUMULATIVE CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT $2,922,088 $2,510,092 $2,173,211
9500-Extradition $7,691 $0 $0
9501-Surveyor’s Corner $18,230 $0 $0
9502-County Per Diems $46,250 $0 $0
9503-Monroe County E-911 $929,606 $0 $0
9504-Convention Center Debt $636,000 $0 $0
9505-Auditor’s Ineligible Deductions $29,500 $0 $0
9506-Juvenile Facility COIT $2,697,147 $0 $0
9507-Juvenile Services Non-reverting $0 $0 $0
9508-Jury Pay $14,500 $0 $0
9509-Juvenile Probation $18,883 $0 $0
9510-Probation User Fees-Adult $410,478 $0 $0
9511-Project Income-Job Release $737,249 $0 $0
9512-Supplemental Public Defender Fee $923,845 $0 $0
9513-Clerk’s Perpetuation $111,913 $0 $0
9514-Diversion User Fees $476,176 $0 $0
9515-Court Alcohol/Drug Svcs Fees $367,706 $0 $0
9516-Health Maintenance $72,672 $0 $0
9517-Emergency Plan and Right To Know $15,900 $0 $0
9518-Stormwater Management $1,576,324 $0 $0
9519-County Corrections/Misdemeanant $80,518 $0 $0
9520-County Elected Officials Training $30,000 $0 $0
9521-Alternative Dispute Resolution $21,000 $0 $0
9522-County Assessor/R.E. Disclosure $50,765 $0 $0
9523-Convention/Visitors Capital Imp/Maint $100,000 $0 $0
9524-County Offender Transportation $3,000 $0 $0
9525-Health Tobacco Cessation $54,416 $0 $0
9526-Problem Solving Court $35,124 $0 $0
9527-Westside Economic Development $1,999,166 $0 $0
9528-46 Corridor Economic Development $258,775 $0 $0
9529-Fullerton Pike Economic Development $1,581,894 $0 $0
9530-Plat Book $0 $0 $0
9531-Convention Center Revenue $577,688 $0 $0
9532-Cable Franchise Fees $714,982 $0 $0
9533-Showers Building Operating $204,721 $0 $0
9544-Identification Security Protection $5,500 $0 $0
9599-Public Safety LOIT $3,751,926 $0 $0
Totals $73,716,871 $27,358,565 $24,836,701

(*) This chart was adapted from our official advertisement, which can be found here: http://budgetnotices.in.gov/ReportMaster.aspx?uid=2533&yr=2017&mode=ALL

 

 

2017 Monroe County Budget Hearings Begin Tonight

2016 County Council MembersDear readers, I apologize for the long gap in postings here. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Now that budget hearings are here, I’ll try to make a better effort.

Tonight is the first night of budget hearings for the Monroe County 2017 budget.

The full schedule for budget hearings is as follows:

  • Tuesday–August 30th, 2016 5:00 – 9:00 pm: County Commissioners, Veterans’ Affairs, Health, Solid Waste Management, Building Commission
  • Wednesday–August 31st, 2016 5:00 – 9:00 pm: Clerk (including Election Board), Parks, Recorder, Emergency Management, County Fair, Prosecutor, Coroner, Perry-Clear Creek Fire Protection District
  • Tuesday–September 6th, 2016 5:00 – 9:00 pm: Courts, Probation, Youth Services, Public Works/Highway (including Stormwater)
  • Monday–September 19th, 2016 5:00 – 9:00 pm: Tech Services, Extension, Weights and Measures, Sheriff, Correction Center, Assessor, Treasurer, Convention and Visitors
  • Wednesday-September 21St, 2016 5:00 – 9:00 pm: Human Resources, Planning, Legal, Aviation, Auditor, County Council
  • Thursday-September 22nd, 2016 5:00 – 9:00 pm: Public Defender, and multiple budgets considered for the new Public Safety Local Income Tax

During these times, the County Council will hear requests for the 2017 budget from county departments, and will vote on a proposed budget.

Following hearings, the budget will be formally adopted on October 11-12. At this time, tax rates and levies for county funds will also be adopted.

  • Tuesday–October 11th, 2016 5:30 – 9:00 pm(First Reading)
  • Wednesday–October 12th, 2016 5:30 – 9:00 pm

All budget hearings and adoption will be at the Nat U Hill room of the Monroe County Courthouse. All meetings are open to the public, and will be covered on CATS.

The official publication (Notice to Taxpayers) of the budget hearing and adoption notice is here:

http://budgetnotices.in.gov/ReportMaster.aspx?uid=2533&yr=2017&mode=ALL

 

 

2016 Monroe County Budget Order — Property Tax Rates and Budgets Approved

Monroe County Courthouse at Night
Monroe County Courthouse at Night

Yesterday, Monroe County received its budget order for 2016 from the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. This means that the Department of Local Government Finance has approved for Monroe County:

  • The budgets for all taxing units (i.e., county, cities and towns, school districts, townships, public library, special units)
  • The property tax levies and tax rates for all taxing units
  • The property tax rates for each taxing district (i.e., the tax rates that actually affect each property owner)

Here is a chart showing the 2016 tax rates by taxing district (along with the 2013, 2014, and 2015 rates for comparison):

2016 Monroe County Tax Rates by District

 

Tax rates for all taxing districts actually went down this year, except for Bloomington Township and Salt Creek Township. Tax rates for these two districts went up a bit, because of fire debt service payments.

The full budget order can be found here: Monroe County 2016 Budget Order

Monroe County Citizens Academy Coming Up — Spaces Still Available

Monroe County Courthouse at Night
Monroe County Courthouse at Night

The 2016 Citizens’ Academy for Monroe County residents is coming up, and there are still a few spaces available! The Citizens’ Academy, which begins February 8th and ends April 4th, is designed to give Monroe County residents a better understanding of how county government functions, where tax dollars go, and how to become involved in county boards and committees. The program allows citizens to interact directly with elected officials and department heads and get a behind the scenes tour of several county government facilities.

The Monroe County Citizens’ Academy is supported and funded by Monroe County government and conducted by the Monroe County Extension Office. There is no cost to participate; however registration is requested by February 1st. Classes will be held in the evening from 6-9PM, at various locations.

A brochure with additional information, including a registration form, is available at the Purdue Extension – Monroe County Office, located at 3400 South Walnut Street and on the web here. You can also get additional information about the program through the Purdue Extension – Monroe County Office at 349-2575 or email monroeces@purdue.edu

Here is a list of the topics for the Citizens’ Academy:

  • Monroe County Council and Financing Local Government (I will be speaking about Financing Local Government)
  • Assessor and County Clerk
  • Highway, Planning and Emergency Management
  • Unified Courts
  • Probation, Community Corrections, Drug Court
  • Jail and Law Enforcement (including a tour of the jail, which is always one of the highlights of the program)
  • Youth Services, Health Dept, Township Trustees and Auditor’s Office
  • County Commissioners and County Recorder

This is a great program and a great learning opportunity. Sign up now while you still can!

Study of Indiana Transportation Infrastructure Funding Mechanisms

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Indiana House Enrolled Act 1104 of 2014 required the Indiana Department of Transportation to commission a third-party study of transportation infrastructure funding mechanisms. The study was required to include charges based on at least the following:

  • Vehicle gross weight and miles traveled
  • Usage and degree of damage caused to transportation infrastructure
  • Flat per vehicle fees
  • Adjustments to sales tax on motor fuel, gas tax, special fuel tax (i.e., diesel), and the motor carrier fuel tax and surcharge
  • Tolling

INDOT commissioned Cambridge Systematics, D’Artagnan Consulting, and Indiana University to perform the study. The results were surprisingly hard to find on the INDOT Web site. You can find the study here: INDOT Road Funding Study Cambridge Systematics.

As you might imagine, there is no really good answer. Some alternatives, like an increased general sales tax (either an actual rate increase or dedicated revenue stream from the existing sales tax) produce enough revenue but harm the business climate and would be politically unpopular (especially if diverting the revenue from the existing sales tax resulted in a reduction to other important priorities like education or health care). Periodic increases and/or indexing to inflation of the gas, diesel, and surtaxes are easy to put in place but provide unstable revenue streams and are very politically unpopular. Others, like an increased rental car excise tax are easy to put into place and popular, but do not produce nearly enough revenue to make a difference. Road user fees, which are currently being piloted in Oregon (Oregon Road Usage Charge Program) and California (California Road Charge Pilot Program), are very difficult to enforce/collect, and are not yet politically popular. Etc. The study considers 17 different funding mechanisms (starting on page 16).

Probably the most seemingly obvious, but also most important, points that the study makes is that determining a road funding system is really a two-step process: first, the state needs to determine what Indiana wants to buy, and then select the funding mechanism to raise the necessary revenue. The first part involves some major policy decisions: do we just maintain the roads we already have, or do we build new roads as well?  If the latter, which roads, and how are they prioritized? For maintenance, at what condition do we want to maintain our roads and bridges? (Of course everyone will say that they should be maintained in top condition, until they are required to pay for that maintenance). And of course the issue that is most important to me — how do local roads and bridges fit into the funding mix?

The report also had a page on the public’s perception of transportation funding, which was probably the most fascinating of the whole study. The takeaways on this aspect included the following:

  • The Hoosier public both believes that road quality is poor and demands improved and new roads
  • The Hoosier public significantly overestimates the amount they pay in fuel taxes
  • For revenue mechanisms, the public preferences fees that shift the tax burden to “others” (any surprise there?)
  • General sales tax and road user charges are the most polarizing

This issue will be one of the bigger challenges ahead, both for Indiana and the nation.

 

Preview of Monroe County Council Meeting 2015-11-10

2015 Monroe County Council
2015 Monroe County Council

The packet and agenda for today’s regular meeting of the Monroe County Council is now available: Council_Packet_20151110.

The following are the major substantive items on the agenda:

  • The Recorder has two requests:
    • To freeze the 2016 salary as a high outlier for one of the Deputy Recorders. This issue has a complicated history. The Monroe County compensation system defines a salary range for each job classification. Employees start at the minimum of the range, and move up to the midpoint of the range after 3 years of service. However, employees who supervise others in their own classification receive salaries equivalent to the maximum of the range (in order to create a pay differential between the supervisor and their supervisees). These employees who supervise others in their classification and receive the maximum of the salary range are called in-grade supervisors. This policy has proved problematic for a number of reasons, and received a lot of scrutiny over the past couple of years.
    • The Recorder’s office had 4 staff, including one who was being paid as an in-grade supervisor (as well as elected Recorder and his chief deputy). When the new Recorder took office this year, as part of his reorganization plan for the office, he requested a series of desk audits for all positions. As a result, he eliminated one of the 4 staff positions, and requested job description changes for the others, to essentially eliminate any specialization and make them all Deputy Recorders. The management in the office would be provided by the Recorder and Chief Deputy Recorder. The purpose of this reorganization was to have all staff cross-trained in all functions of the office.
    • However, since one employee had been classified as an in-grade supervisor, that employee’s salary would actually be reduced once all employees’ job descriptions were unified. In order to avoid reducing an employee’s salary resulting from a classification decision, the Recorder is requesting that that employee be made a high-outlier. If the Council approves this, it means that the employee’s salary would be frozen and he will not receive any annual cost of living adjustments until the pay for the classification “catches up” to the employee’s actual pay. This has been done in the past by the Council, as an alternative to actually reducing an employee’s pay resulting from reclassification decisions.
    • The Recorder is proposing to pay for the difference between the employee’s actual (frozen) salary and what the salary would be if it were reduced to the midpoint of the classification out of the Recorder’s Perpetuation Fund, so this decision would have no impact on the General Fund.
    • The Recorder is also requesting amend the salary ordinance to include a salary for part-time/hourly employees. A salary ordinance is required to pay any employee, full or part-time. For some reason, the Recorder’s Office has never had a salary ordinance for hourly part-time employees (going back, presumably for many years). This request is to correct this omission.
  • Veterans Affairs is requesting approval of a new job description for the County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) and upgrading of the position from a PAT (Professional, Administrative, Technological series) II to a PAT III. Our current CVSO (Larry Catt) is retiring, and the County is working with him on reclassifying the position upward, based on the increased demands of the position. During 2016 budget hearings, the Council already moved this position from part-time to full-time (40 hours), and recommended that the position description be modified and that the new description be sent to our classification consultant for reclassification. The recommendation was to classify the position upward one grade, based on new requirements, many of them highly technical and specialized. The Veterans Affairs department has seen many new and different needs for its services (including many new veterans from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan), and these position upgrades represent a major increase in the services that we are able to provide our veterans.
  • The Auditor is requesting that an increase in the maximum hourly wage passed at the last work session be made retroactive, as the request was to increase the wage was delayed for the convenience of the Council
  • The Sheriff is requesting that the Council approve an amendment to the Monroe County Police Retirement Plan. The two primary changes are (1) to change the vesting schedule from 8 years to 10 years (i.e., a deputy will not be eligible for any pension benefits upon retirement unless they have at least 10 years of service with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department) and (2) to eliminate the loophole that allowed employees to be 100% vested in their pension when they turned 55 regardless of number of years of service. My council colleague Ryan Cobine made the following comments on the Herald Times Online comments section the other day, which is a better summary of the issue than I could provide, so I’ll just quote him here:
    • My understanding of why Sheriff Swain brought these proposed changes to both the merit board and the county council, along with correcting some general issues of equity, was to reign in the potential for runaway costs in the future while simultaneously concentrating the benefit to career deputies. As was noted in the HT article, pension plans with overly lax eligibility requirements can put financial stress on a county budget, and therefore onto the services provided to a county.One concern discussed by the county council with the ten-year vestment, specifically for the elected office of sheriff, is that it will make the office of Sheriff differ from all other county elected offices restricted to two terms regarding when an office holder becomes eligible for full retirement benefits. Currently, that is after eight years for all county elected officials restricted to two terms. The concern here is one of fairness—why effectively exclude a two-term office holder for sheriff from a pension benefit when all other term limited office holders will receive one?

      Another, related concern, which came up briefly in the council’s work session discussion of this, is explained well in this excerpt from a recent Association of Indiana Counties publication:

      Some of the parties expressed worry that this plan will deter individuals from running for sheriff unless they already have multiple years within the department. While the county does not want to discourage “non­ police” individuals from running, the long-run projected cost savings were significant enough to counter-balance those concerns. (“Fiscally Responsible Compromises on Sheriffs’ Pension Costs: A Case in Point”, by Adam Johnson, INDIANA NEWS 92 September/October 2015, http://goo.gl/9MlxLM)

      The concern in this case is one of treating potential external candidates for sheriff (a citizen candidate with no previous, professional law enforcement employment experience) equally to internal candidates (those who do have professional law enforcement experience with the county).

      My sense, based on the October 27 council work session where Sheriff Swain explained these proposals, is that the council will support the proposals, with the change of making the office of Sheriff vest in eight years to be in line with other term-limited county elected offices.

    • The only gloss on this explanation that I’d add is that I don’t think the Council is promoting candidates for Sheriff with no professional law enforcement experience — at least, I’m not. The issue is whether to create an even playing field for candidates who aren’t specifically internal to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.
  • The Sheriff is also requesting several additional appropriations and a transfer from one category to another, on behalf of the Correctional Center. The transfer request is for $14K from General Maintenance Repair services to Operational Supplies. The additional appropriations total $145K ($75K from the General Fund and $70K from the Misdemeanant Fund), all to supplement increased overtime pay resulting from the new collective bargaining arrangement with the Corrections Officers. There will likely be some pushback against this request, and councilors have already expressed significant concern about the dramatic increases in jail overtime costs. Jail staff have already agreed, during budget hearings, to put in place some management practices to reduce overtime for the 2016 budget year.
  • The Treasurer’s request for a salary ordinance amendment to upgrade her Financial/Cash Book position from a PAT II to a PAT IV (increase in salary from $35,793 to $40,286) is receiving a second reading. This upgrade has been discussed extensively and has gone through many revisions. The request passed 6-1 at the work session in October. However, by statute if the decision at the first reading is not unanimous, there must be a second reading (actually the rule is a little more complicated than that, but it isn’t particularly relevant to this case).
  • The Prosecutor is requesting the appropriation of a $47,202 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant for 3 part-time victim assistance positions.
  • The County Council office is proposing a resolution that would officially document existing practices for funding benefits as a percentage of salaries. The purpose is to address a State Board of Accounts audit comment that we did not have such a policy in place. However, it is likely that this item will be pulled from the agenda and discussed at the next work session, as there are still several policy issues to be worked out.

Incidentally, this will be the first County Council meeting of new District 4 councilor Eric Spoonmore. Spoonmore was elected in a Democratic party caucus last night to replace councilor Rick Dietz, who moved out of the district. Welcome, Eric!

Eric Spoonmore Being Sworn In by City Clerk Regina Moore
Eric Spoonmore Being Sworn In by City Clerk Regina Moore

As always, the meeting is open to the public, and will be held this evening (November 10, 2015) at 5:30 in the Nat U Hill room of the Monroe County Courthouse, and it will be broadcast on CATS. Public comment will be taken. Hope to see you there!

Preview of Monroe County Council Work Session 2015-10-27

2015 Monroe County Council
2015 Monroe County Council

The packet and agenda for tonight’s work session of the Monroe County Council is now available: Council_Work_Session_Packet_20151027_AMENDED

The following topics will be discussed at the work session:

  • The Solid Waste Management District is requesting that the County provide landfill post-closure financial assurance that is required by new state requirements. Essentially the District is requesting that the county guarantee the landfill closure costs, if for some reason the District is unable to cover those costs.
  • The Auditor and the Treasurer will provide some discussion on their respective responses to the Hartman and Williams report on financial reconciliation issues up to December 31, 2014.
  • The Council will discuss a proposed new policy for providing a mechanism by which department heads can start certain new hires at above the current initial starting salary. Currently all new county employees start at the minimum salary for the classification, unless they have 1-3 years of experience with Monroe County Government. The intention of this policy is to allow experience at a substantially similar organization to substitute for Monroe County Government experience. The purpose is to provide department heads with better tools to recruit good employees to Monroe County Government.
  • The Sheriff will provide a proposed amendment to the Monroe County Police Retirement Plan, which increases the vesting schedule for retirement pension from 8 years to 10 years.

In addition to these work session topics, the Council will be voting on a number of requests from departments:

  • The Auditor has two requests:
    • One to increase their maximum hourly rate for part-time employees from $15.00 to $19.25. The Auditor is requesting that this increase be retroactive to April 1, 2015.
    • The second is to reclassify the Payroll Financial Representative from a COMOT V ($32,995/year) to a PAT III ($36,232/year), effective immediately.
  • The Treasurer has several requests as well:
    • To reclassify their Financial/Cash Book position (PAT II at $35,793 per year) to a Financial Cash Manager position (PAT IV, at $40,286).
    • To add a new position to the department, a Deputy Judgments position (COMOT III, at $29,575).
  • Courts is requesting the appropriation of a $100,000 Title IV-D Parenting Time grant.
  • Planning has several requests:
    • Permission to hire a new senior planner at the midpoint, rather than the entry level (see the discussion above).
    • Request to move 3 planner positions from 35 hours/week to 40 hours/week immediately. These positions were funded at 40 hours/week in the upcoming 2016 budget, but this request is to make the change take effect immediately.
    • A transfer of $10,008 from Hourly/Work Study to Consultant Fees/Legal Expenses line.
    • Request for appropriation of two grants: Limestone Heritage Project ($5000) and Indiana Landmarks/Indiana Humanities Educational Outreach Program ($2000)
  • The Prosecutor is requesting that a Case Management/Tech Specialist position be funded out of the County General fund. Typically this position has been funded 2/3 out of Pretrial Diversion; however, the Pretrial Diversion balance it too low to support this position.
  • The Recorder is requesting the appropriation of $10,000 in the County Elected Officials Training Fund (supported from a county recording fee and statutorily earmarked for mandatory training for certain elected officials). Appropriation of this fund was omitted during budget hearings last year for 2015.
  • Probation is requesting a salary ordinance amendment to create two new positions in the Community Alternative Supervision Program (Community Corrections). These positions would be funded by a grant that has not been awarded yet. However, the county has been advised that turnaround for this grant will be quick, so this request would set up the salary lines for immediate funding IF the grant is awarded.
  • County Council is requesting an additional appropriation of $41,500 for PERF, part-time hourly, contractual services, and community services grants. This is the first year that County Council members receive the PERF retirement benefits, and so this line was underfunded for the year. In addition, the Council hired a new administrative assistant and additional assistance during budget hearings, which increased the part-time hourly burden. The council also engaged the services of Waggoner, Irwin, Scheele (WIS) for a classification study.
  • Veterans’ Affairs is requesting a $1000 transfer from the Secretary Part-Time line (which is unused) to the Training/Travel line.

As always, the meeting is open to the public, and will be held tonight at 5:30 in the Nat U Hill room of the Monroe County Courthouse, and it will be broadcast on CATS. Hope to see you there!