Though state officials continue to tout a budget surplus, Dubois County officials are among those having to work a bit harder to make ends meet.
Yesterday, the council held its day long budget session at the county courthouse annex. The 2016 general fund spending plan for the county originally came out to just over $9.7 million, which left the county with a roughly $1.6 million shortage. However, the council identified nearly $1.7 million in cuts, trimming the general fund down to around $8 million for 2016, roughly the same as this year’s budget. The council also decided to have several large items be paid from the county EDIT funds rather than the general fund to help the budget crunch.
County council president Greg Kendall says for all of the bragging about a state surplus, the benefits of it aren’t being seen in local government:
This is the 2nd consecutive year for a shortfall in the county budget. Last year, county officials dealt with a $1.3 million deficit. The county council will again discuss the budget at their next meeting on August 24th at 4:30 pm. A public hearing will be held September 9th and the budget will likely be adopted at the council’s September meeting.
Now the council did give some raises in salary this year despite the deficit. The standard for those raises was $15 bi-weekly raises for full-time salaried workers and 20 cents an hour for full and part-time hourly workers.
One of the biggest changes in employees for 2016 will be the addition of an assistant security officer at the courthouse. Dubois County Sheriff Donny Lampert told the council the officer is needed in light of many security related shootings such as what happened in Chattanooga.
Lampert praised the council for adding the officer, saying it will go a long way:
Lampert says the two security officers will go between the courthouse and the courthouse annex to provide a higher level of security.
Lampert also plans to cross-train several other deputies for courthouse security in the event that one of the security officers is sick or on vacation.