County to cut proposed budget by $1.1M

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Dubois County’s proposed 2019 general budget needs to be purged by $1.1 million.

That was the challenge Dubois County Council members faced Monday, as they reviewed budget requests from the county’s different departments.

“I can’t say what all caused that big of a hit,” Council President Jerry Hunefeld said. “We all knew the wage study that we did would add a couple hundred thousand dollars to the budget. And we knew the 2 percent (pay) raise would affect the budget.”

The wage study that was completed in 2016, determined that some county positions were under the minimum pay scale and should be increased. The council determined in March that the funding for those, more than $200,000, should be put into the 2019 budget.

“That wage study did not affect everybody,” Hunefeld said. “There were some people that got nothing from the study, because the study indicated that they were in the right spot.”

All employees received a 2 percent raise, though the council and Dubois County Commissioners chose to not give themselves a raise.

To reduce the proposed 2019 general fund by $1.1 million, the council decided to take some of its big-ticket items from the general fund, which affects property taxes, and move them into the Local Income Tax Economic Development Fund. The council told the auditor’s office to determine which items can be moved. They will review those changes at a future meeting.

The county expects to receive $2.6 million in Local Income Tax Economic Development Fund revenue in 2019.

“We knew there was adequate income coming from that area,” Hunefeld said. That’s why we moved it there.”

Along with small snips in various budgets, council members also removed new positions that had not been approved by the Dubois County Commissioners. That included an additional deputy and two jailers for the sheriff’s department, and an additional administrative assistant for the prosecutor’s office.

“We didn’t approve it because the commissioners didn’t approve it,” Hunefeld said. “They have to create the position first, and then we will discuss it.”

An additional deputy prosecutor position approved by the commissioners was left in the budget. The school resource officer for the Northeast Dubois County School Corporation was left in the budget, but the majority of that officer’s salary will be covered by a $35,000 state grant and a $35,000 commitment from the Northeast Dubois School Board.

The council started its budget work at 8 a.m. Monday and finished at 6 p.m., 10 hours later.

“It’s always a very stressful day, with so many people coming in, all talking about what their needs are. It’s a lot of higher-level thinking, where you have to be on top of everything,” Hunefeld said. “Overall, the day went well. All the council members participated and shared their perspectives. And the people who came in were very respectful.”




More on DuboisCountyHerald.com