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County submits $13.8M budget
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:00 AM
The Jefferson County Council adopted its complete 2013 budget of $13.8 million Tuesday night, slightly higher than its operating budget for this year.
The budget, which the council approved unanimously, contains a $6.9 million general fund, which was the advertised amount. The County Economic Development Tax and highway budget will be set at $3,059,646, the health fund will be $893,249 and the cumulative funds combined will total $1,485,566.
With the approval, the budget will now be sent to the Department of Local Government Finance for final tweaks and review before the council officially certifies it.
The general fund for this year was certified at $6,497,834, while the total budget was certified at $10,869,830. Last year, the Department of Local Government Finance cut the adopted budget by 6.2 percent.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, Sheriff John Wallace reported that local contractor Teton Corp. will begin the third-floor jail renovations as early as this week or next. The transformation will make way for 16 to 20 more beds for female inmates to help with overcrowding.
"We're going full-speed ahead," Wallace said.
The Board of Commissioners recently approved a construction bid to Teton for $248,500. To hit the cap price for the project, RQAW, the Indianapolis firm handling the designs, removed all permanent fixtures in the plans, excluding the stainless steel fixtures planned for the bathroom.
Earlier this year, Wallace had proposed temporarily using plastic furniture and Department of Correction certified bunks to cut down on project costs. But Tuesday, he proposed purchasing the permanent furniture out of the jail commissary fund, which will not dip into the county's or taxpayer's pocket.
Wallace said he found that purchasing and installing the furniture at a later date would almost double the project cost, which will be about $13,000 if completed with the larger renovations.
The commissary fund brings in revenue to the jail through inmate spending, such as the purchase of hygiene products or snacks. The fund is commonly used to buy equipment for the sheriff's department, such as vehicles. Purchases do not need the approval of the council. The fund has a current balance of about $60,000.
The council commended the sheriff for finding a way to save money down the road for the project and his willingness to use the jail funds.
"I think it's great you're willing to use your commissary fund to help out," said council member Laura Boldery.
In other business:
The Jefferson County Health Department will not be sponsoring the WIC program after March next year, although the service will still be available to county residents.
Tammy Monroe, health administrator, reported that the transition will take place April 1, and New Hope Services will be the new provider. New Hope Services, which provides WIC services for nearby counties, will offer the three current full-time health department WIC employees jobs, Monroe said. In addition, the company will open a location in Madison separate from the health department.
911 director John Hendrix reported that a recent brief 911 outage that affected Jefferson County and several other counties was the result of a networking issue in Fort Wayne. He said the state has formed a review board to address and troubleshoot the issue.
Hendrix also reported that the 911 dispatch center move, which happened to make way for the jail renovation, came within the deadline for the county to receive its 50 percent 911 federal grant reimbursement.
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