This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Start of budget hearings

The Jasper County Council met on Tuesday night to begin their budget hearings and discussion. Before that part of the agenda, they approved additional appropriations for tracking devices for inmates of Community Corrections and for the court’s law book budget. They had a public hearing for the growth factor (at which no members of the public said anything) and approved attaching it to the property tax. (I would explain what that means if I understood it.)

They had some time before the scheduled public hearing on the budget, scheduled for 7:30, and there was a discussion of the possibility of a county park, which some citizen has been asking various council members about. No one on the council was willing to investigate the matter but if citizens are willing to do the homework, they are welcome to do so.

The budget hearings themselves are almost impossible to follow if you are in the audience. The Council members have a thick binder full of numbers and the discussion is almost always in reference to what is in the binders. There were three budgets discussed at the meeting, those of the Highway Department, the various parts of the Commissioner budgets (which include a big variety of things), and JCEDO and Tourism. During the discussion of the highway budget, it was noted that about 350 different communities and counties submitted grants for matching road funds. This was the first year of the program and local officials did not expect nearly that many proposals. Only one county in the state had no proposals originating from it. Both Jasper County and the City of Rensselaer submitted proposals and they should know in a week or two if their proposals will be funded.

During the presentation of the Commissioners, someone mentioned that the eastern part of the county had received more rain than Rensselaer this week. Rensselaer got about three inches and some places in the eastern part of the county were four and five inches. The Commissioners were frustrated by the climate control work being done by Havel in both the Court House and jail. They may slow down the project to make sure that there will be savings from it. There was a long discussion of the budget for the Fair. The current fair office may be replaced because the building is old and in need of work. During fair week 230 families reside in the campgrounds. As mentioned in a post on the Commissioners July meeting the county would like to purchase land on the west side of the fairgrounds that it is currently leasing, and a resolution of interest was passed to allow the county to proceed with negotiations to purchase the land.
The short discussion of the tourism budget mentioned that assistance with South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority is being phased out as the local office has learned to do many of the things that South Shore was previously doing. The meeting was recessed and will continue with more budget discussions this week.

Voting for the bicentennial bison has yielded a very close contest between Martin County and Jasper County. As I write this, both are over 10,000 votes and Martin county is ahead by two votes. No other county is close to 1000. (If you have not voted, you can do so here. Jasper County is on the second page.) Today (Wednesday) is the last day to vote.

I do not have a picture for today’s post and I need one for the link I make on Facebook. Here is the flow in the Iroquois River for the past 45 days. Today we will probably set a daily record. The flow for the day will average more than 500 cubic feet per second and the previous high flow was 465 cfs set in 1958.

1 comment:

Gary said...

"Growth Factor" - what that means: This is also known as Local Option Income Tax A and when it was first introduced and adopted in 2007 it was known as a Levy Freeze. This meant that the tax levy amount set at that time would never change other than by a "Growth Factor" that would be determined by the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF). This would be if a county decided to go with this, which the Jasper County Council did in 2007. Then each year the DLGF would determine by what "factor" or tax rate the county would be expected and allowed to increase the funds needed to operate their government and provide the services expected. The way this had been devised however was that the increase would automatically always come each year from an increase in Income Tax UNLESS the County Council would vote to apply that increase to Property Tax instead. That is why we had to vote on that issue last night to NOT have it increase the Income Tax rate any more than it already is. The rate of increase would have been .00364 and we decided by unanimous vote to have it apply to an increase in property tax. I was happy to see there was no opposition to that. Gerrit H. DeVries - Jasper County Councilman