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Monday, April 21, 2014

Elkhart County leaders set up 2014 spending plan

The Elkhart County Council was challenged with a $7.6 million shortfall while planning the 2014 budget.

Posted on Oct. 2, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — The last planning session for Elkhart County’s 2014 budget has come to a close.

The Elkhart County Council voted unanimously Wednesday, Oct. 2, to approve a spending plan for the upcoming year that challenged the board to fix a $7.6 million shortfall.

Here is a rundown of the largest adjustments that helped the county council fill the gap:

Ÿ The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department will pay $2.6 million in medical expenses using the jail county adjusted gross income tax, or CAGIT, fund. The county is expected to receive excess funds — $9.45 million total — from the jail CAGIT in 2014. The county typically uses $6.3 million from the account annually to pay for bonds linked to the jail’s construction. The council will make an appropriation next year from the sheriff’s department’s pension fund in the amount of $376,100, for retirement payments.

Ÿ The county council voted to plug a one-time infusion of $1 million into the budget generated from the county landfill’s tipping fees. The council also agreed to amend the landfill ordinance to set aside up to $250,000 from tipping fees each year for the general fund.

Ÿ The county council decided to use $1 million from the Economic Development Income Tax, or EDIT, fund to balance the budget. The EDIT account is used throughout the year to pay for road projects.

Ÿ The county council reduced the budget by $890,300 for new voting equipment with a plan to research leasing options for the machines.

Ÿ The county council saved almost $170,000 by keeping seven county government employee positions unfunded.

Ÿ Full-time county employees will be eligible for a pay raise of up to 3 percent of their annual salary in 2014. The raises will be at the discretion of department heads based on each employee’s job performance.

Ÿ The county’s contribution to employee health savings accounts will increase from $750 annually to $1,125.

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