County News_logoPaige Sansone from Umbaugh presented an overview of the Long-term Financial Plan for Marshall County during the Council meeting Monday. The plan was contracted to assist the county with developing a plan to fund multiple capital projects over the news three year and evaluate the county’s projected financial position.

There was good news and bad news in the report.  The good news, after analyzing 11 separate funds (General, Special CAGIT, CAGIT, Cum Bridge, Cum Cap Development, Health, Local Road & Street, Motor Vehicle Highway, Reassessment, 911 and Rainy Day) a plan to fund 15 of the 18 capital project was created.

Those capital expenses that can be funded include heat pump replacement in the amount of $125,000; new roof for the museum at $100,000; replace a chiller for $100,000; generator for highway $50,000; concrete work $50,000; fix wood rot on the clock tower $100,000; a new maintenance building $100,000; new phone system at the sheriff’s department $10,000; additional dispatch council $25,000; update jail video visitation $30,000; separate fiber line for jail $ $42,000; monitor wetland for Veterans Parkway $45,000; four single axel trucks for the highway department over a 3 year period $705,000; a tandem axel truck with wing plow for the highway department $225,000; and the Hickory Road Bridge project for $300,000.

The bad news was that two funds, the Motor Vehicle Highway Fund and the 911 fund are of concern to the financial consultants from Umbaugh and to the County Commissioners and Council.

The Motor Vehicle Highway Fund have seen a average of 36% distribution of cash reserves the last two years and this year the final payment from INDOT for the relinquishment of US 31 will be paid.  Sansone said, “Beginning in 2017, this fund will have a structural budget deficit of over $500,000.”  She suggestion is to shift capital outlays and other allowable costs to the Local Road and Street Fund, Cum Cap Development Fund and or Rainy Day Fund.  She also showed how the implementation of the wheel tax (LOHUT local option highway user tax) could benefit the county with the minimum of $5 per vehicle and $7.50 surtax would generate $238,900; the median of $40 wheel tax and $25 surtax could create $962,600 or the maximum of $80 wheel tax and $50 surtax would bring another $1,930,400 into the highway department.

The cash reserves for the Statewide 911 have declined from 77% to 39% from 2014 to 2015, a decline of $276,000.  Sansone said, “Reserves are expected to decline over the next two years by an average of $118,000 per year.” It was also noted that the sheriff has requested three additional dispatchers at $180,000 annually.  The financial consultant said, “As proposed, the additional staff cannot be supported from current resources and if no action is taken, this fund’s cash balance could be depleted as early as 2018.”

In her summary Sansone said, “Capital projects totaling $1.9 million can be funded from cash-on-hand.”  In addition the special CAGIT legislation could take on additional annual jail operating costs of up to $745,000 per year.   She also suggested reestablishing the rate on the Cum Cap Development Fund which could generate an additional revenue of $400,000 annually.