Members of the Marshall County Council worked for three hours Monday to make cuts to the 2021 budget requests. County Auditor Julie Fox told the council they should work to cut $800,000 from the General Fund which had requests of $14,521,998 to stay within the levy.
When the meeting was complete the County Council was able to reduce the General Fund Budget by $847,000.
While some department had offered up a few cuts most were not on hand as the County Council red-lined their budgets. The County Commissioners offered a $200,000 reduction in Health Insurance. While they are not sure what kind of increase will happen, they budgeted an 18% increase. Commissioner Kevin Overmyer was confident that the $1,659,900 line-item could handle the reduction. The council cut the entire $50,000 COVID-19 Pandemic line item because earlier in the meeting they considered an additional of $1.35 million for COVID-19 CARES Act. Why the additional appropriation request was tabled the council asked for a works session with the commissioners to discuss the CARES Act funds and items to be funded with the money.
Some of the cuts made to next year’s budget were simply moving items from a line in the General Fund to a line in a budget not funded through the General Fund. An example was moving $20,000 from Legal Services in the commissioner’s budget to the Special Jail LIT fund since the additional was to cover lawsuits about conditions in the jail.
The Council did eliminate the security officer’s position in the County Building. It was determined that the department heads didn’t feel it was work the nearly $40,000 cost. They also removed the request for a third detective saving $54,330.
In the Jail budget the council reduced wages overtime by $20,000 since the inmate count is down and they were given three positions. The part-time cook line item hasn’t been used this year nor last year so they cut it $5,400 leaving $5,000 in the budget for 2021. Several items in the jail budget were moved out of the General Fund to the Jail Special LIT including $8,000 for office supplies, $35,000 for janitorial supplies, $30,000 for prisoner supplies and $33,000 for equipment maintenance contract.
Another budget that took a major cut was that for Marshall Superior Court III which won’t actually be operational until July 1, 2021. When creating the budget for next year the council asked for an entire year so they could see what costs will be. The council cut the budget by half and removed the salary for the court administrator leaving $90,831. It was discussed that since the county will be adding a third court the case load of the other courts should be less. Their thought was taking the administrative assistant from Superior Court II and moving the person to Superior Court III since they will have experience in the position.
Another position that wasn’t funded at the requested amount was the Code Enforcement Officer. That part-time position was at $10,000 this year and Ty Adley, County Plan Director asked for $16,500 next year but the council cut the additional. They also cut the $6,500 additional in the Building Commission budget which putting those two together would create a full time position.
Department Heads did include in their budget requests raises of $1,600 for all full time employees. The wage increase for this year was $.25 per hour. Council members were interested in an hourly increase and asked to additional information from the Auditor on the impact from various increases such as $.25 per hour, $.50 per hour and $.75 per hour. They won’t make a final determination until the additional information is provided and they begin the 2021 budget adoption process.