County News_logoAfter approving requests for nine additional appropriations and more than 14 transfers, Marshall County Council members were questioned on their policy for handling transfers.

Marshall County Treasurer and former County Auditor Penny Lukenbill asked the council Monday if they have changed their policy on transfers within a major category.   She indicated that transfer requests are being held until the next scheduled council meeting which is monthly causing budget line items to go into the red.

The policy while Lukenbill was Auditor for 8 years and for many years prior has been to allow department heads and elected officials to transfer funds within the major categories without council approval and only when the transfer is between major categories is council approval necessary.

Kevin Overmyer, President of the Commissioners said the transfer requests on their behalf today were within the same major category and had never needed council approval during his tenure on the commission.

County Auditor Julie Fox said the State Board of Accounts looks at it either way, having councils approve all transfers or only those from one category to another. She said, “The statue is not clear and leaves too much up to interpretation.”

State Statue says, “The proper officers of a political subdivision may transfer money from one major budget classification to another within a department or office if:  (1) they determine that the transfer is necessary, (2) the transfer does not require the expenditure of more money than the total amount set out in the budget as finally determined under this article and (3) the transfer is made at a regular public meeting by the proper ordinance or resolution.

Councilmember Steve Harper said, “I’d like to take it under advisement to allow us time to look at the issue and then we can come back with a policy that everyone can understand.”

Councilmember Judy Stone commented that the audits from the State Board of Accounts have not indicated a problem with the county’s process for the 9 years that she’s been on the County Council.

The Council tabled any action for further review and discussion.