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Estimated income tax revenues in Allen County are $1 million less than predicted

Allen County officials have learned that the estimated income tax revenues next year are $1 million less than predicted, leaving zero dollars in the general fund for budget appeals.

The County Council has scheduled budget appeal hearings next month, but the news from the state has thrown a wrench into that process, County Auditor Tera Klutz said Thursday.

"Although more income tax returns were filed, wages were 1.8 percent lower," Klutz said.

While the shortage may stymie departmental budget appeals, Klutz said she felt confident in meeting expenses and other aspects of next year's budget.

In other business, council members will draft a letter of support to county commissioners, recommending they consider a plan to change county employees' retirement plans and save the county almost $13.4 million over the next 10 years.

State government employees are currently enrolled in PERF - Indiana's Public Employee Retirement Fund - and the commissioners will decide whether to switch new county employees to a retirement plan similar to a 401(k) and match their contributions by 5 percent, Klutz said.

If Allen County moves away from PERF, it would be the first county in the state to do so, said Council President Darren Vogt, R-3rd.

The switch would only apply to new employees hired after Jan. 1, Klutz said. "Employees cannot withdraw from PERF, but we can offer the new plan to new employees as part of the benefit package," she said.

The savings would result from the county paying 5 percent into the retirement fund versus the 11.2 percent it currently pays. That difference means the county would pay $24.2 million into PERF or $10.8 million for a 5 percent match over the next 10 years.

For more on this story, see Friday’s print edition or go to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m.

vsade@jg.net

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