FORT WAYNE – Allen Countys 2013 budget will exceed revenue by about $5 million after departments submitted spending plans to the County Council.
According to a preliminary summary of expected expenses, revenue and budget requests, the auditors office is anticipating a $3.6 million deficit, which does not include an additional $1.5 million in capital projects requests from 17 different departments.
Departmental budget requests sent to County Council members and the auditors office were compiled with some departments seeking more money, others less and one seeking the elimination of its taxpayer-based budget.
The requests are part of the preparation for the councils 2013 budget hearings, which start next week.
In addition to the increased budget numbers for next year, the county has seen a substantial increase in insurance claims above and beyond what the auditors office had estimated, Chief Deputy Auditor Nicholas Jordan said.
Costs for health and life insurance for employees are expected to increase by $4.8 million next year, he said.
One department – the recorders office – took the unusual step of asking the county to eliminate its entire budget total, $73,371, which is used for salaries and operations and is derived from property taxes.
As property tax revenue has declined, personnel costs have increasingly been paid through fees for recording documents and obtaining copies, Recorder John McGauley said.
In the past few years, technology upgrades have resulted in fewer expenses through staff reduction and revenue has increased through remote accessible services.
The office has seen a decline in tax expenditures from a peak of $489,157 in 2002 to $73,371 in 2012, McGauley said.
While some departments have kept their budgets flat, many have proposed projects they are including in next years budget.
Several costly capital-project expenses that were not approved last year are making a return visit. Those include more than $460,000 for upgrades to the emergency warning siren system, requested by Homeland Security, and about $400,000 requested by the Allen County Sheriffs Department for 18 new squad cars.
Allen Superior Court also will ask for $187,930 to follow through with upgrades to the Allen County Juvenile Center that were postponed last year because of budget restrictions.
Others asking for budget increases include:
County commissioners, $100,000 – For insurance premium increases, and $40,000 for new annual subscription charges for the GPS units being installed in all non-law enforcement vehicles in the county fleet.
Consolidated Communications Partnership (911 call center), $69,984 – For radio tower equipment and rental.
Building Department, $160,000 – For five replacement vehicles for inspections and the replacement of the automated phone system for inspection requests.
Information systems, $150,000 – To pay for the third phase of the countys disaster recovery program for its information technology center.
In addition to the recorders office, other departments asking for less funding include the assessor, which is asking for $48,833 less, and voter registration, asking for $24,290 less because 2013 is a nonelection year.
Assessor Stacey ODay said in her summary that she could cut $20,000 in overtime since the reassessment process is finished and the office will not hire a replacement for a position that will be vacated this fall.
Budget hearings will be Wednesday and Thursday beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Omni Room of Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St.