The Switzerland County Council met in regular session on Wednesday, September 12th, and one of the main topics on the agenda was the county’s 2019 budget.
In attendance at the meeting were council members Elizabeth Jones, Lisa Fisher, Mike Bear, Andy Haskell, Glenn Scott, Rachel Schuler, and John Gary Welch; along with County Auditor, Gayle Rayles.
The meeting opened with a public budget hearing.
Rayles provided the council with copies of the Budget Estimates report that the public can review in Gateway. President Jones asked for questions from the public regarding the 2019 budget. There being no questions the meeting was adjourned.
President Jones then opened the regular monthly meeting.
Jacque Clements, with AIC (Association of Indiana Counties), provided the council with information on the 2019 budget that included a summary of the budgeted funds 2018 remaining income and expenses plus the 2019 budget with the ending cash balance for each fund.
The 2019 maximum levy growth is 3.4-percent. Switzerland County’s maximum levy for 2019 is $2,490,039. Clements explained that this levy supports the General Fund, Health Department, Reassessment, Cumulative Bridge and Cumulative Capital Development. If any of the funds, other than the General Fund, is increased, the offset comes from the General Fund. Clements also went over the 2018-2019 budget notes.
Rayles provided 2019 budget reports, which showed the revised figures after the decreases to the 2018 and 2019 budgets the departments had agreed to.
These reports included a three-percent pay increase for all employees in 2019.
After a review of some line items, the council made no requests for further changes. These numbers will become official after the final vote at the October 10th meeting. Rayles reminded the council members that the salary amounts in the budget are not official until the Salary Ordinance is passed.
In other business discussed by the council:
— There were three applications for the position open on the Redevelopment Board: Joey Rider, Dr. Ivan Green, and Richard Yanikoski. Jones stated that Yanikoski had withdrawn his name, and then she opened the floor for discussion. There was little discussion, so Jones called for the vote. There were two votes for Dr. Green (Fisher and Welch); there were four votes for Joey Rider (Bear, Schuler, Haskell and Scott). Jones abstained.
As a result of the vote, Rider will be the appointee for the remainder of Fred Stave’s term.
— Fisher asked about receiving a new Casino Revenue Report. Rayles said the September Supplemental funds have been received and she is working on the distributions. As soon as she has the numbers together she will send out a new Balance Report.
Rayles asked which month the council would like to review the Casino Revenue percentages and the grant requests. The portions distributed to the various entities will be decided in November and the grant requests will be handled in January.
— Rayles suggested there be some clarification on the 2018 group insurance cost increase that would ordinarily have been passed on to the employees that the council covered since there were no pay increases this year.
Scott, who made the motion, intended for it to be permanent; however, some of the members thought it was for 2018 only. This item will be discussed at the October meeting.
— There were some questions regarding the actual cost of the phone service being passed on to the Nurse Managed Clinic and the Health Department. In the past the amounts were an estimate. The new phone service is able to give the county a breakdown by department.
— Nadine Swift, Switzerland County Emergency Response Director, gave the council an overview of the progress the department made since its start up. She said that she did not feel all of the employees need a pay increase at this time. She said that the full-time people are at the top of the scale for our area.
Considering that they work two 24-hour shifts and are guaranteed overtime every week and with five days off most have a second job, she would recommend waiting a year for raises. She feels that the part-time employees should receive an increase and recommended 3.5-percent. After some discussion, the council members decided to give the three-percent increase to all of the SCER employees.
—County Commissioner Mark Lohide gave the council an update on what the commissioners have accomplished in recent months. He thanked council for paying for the dump trucks, which should be here next month.