08/21/13 Members of the Marshall County Council spent nearly the whole day Tuesday reviewing the 2014 budget requests. The General Fund budget requests are $8,985,691 compared to this year’s approved budget of $8,331,335.
County Auditor Penny Lukenbill estimated the need to cut a total of $450,000 to $480,000. With most of the budgets already to the barebones there aren’t a whole lot of places to find substantial cuts. The auditor has created a listing of cuts she has seen including several requests that were put in two budgets allowing the council to make the determination of which budget it should be in. One such example is moving the secretary from the Drainage Board budget and placing her full salary in both the Plan Commission and Building Inspector’s budgets. Another example is the Sheriff placing vehicle accessories, radar units, radios and accessories and video cameras in the Sheriff’s budget and in the Certified Shares budget. Lukenbill has located about $300,000 is fairly easy cuts but the final $150,000 to $180,000 will be a struggle.
A couple elected officials added more than the recommended 3% salary increase for various employees and there were a couple requests for additional employees. These requests will be considered when the budget adoption hearing is held in September.
Chief Probation Officer Mary Jane Walsworth presented her case for an additional probation officer. She said, “I don’t want a probation officer, I need a probation officer.” She presented documentation showing the “exploding growth” in probationers. In a recent time-study she looked at all 184 inmates in the County Jail on July 31st. Of the 184 inmates, 151 had been on probation or they have already done the pre-sentence report for them. She said, “The vast majority will end up on our case load.” In 2008 the probation department averaged 17 to 18 pre-sentence investigations while this year the average is 34. Walsworth closed her presentation by saying “I’m desperate. I’m in dire need for additional help.”
While the County Council looked at each and every budget, they will make their final cuts during their September 9th meeting.