The Journal Gazette
Friday, October 22, 2021 1:00 am

County budget gets quick OK, minor tweaks

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

Allen County Council members shared everything they had to say about the 2022 budget in September as they adopted it in about 15 minutes Thursday.

The council met for almost eight hours during its last monthly meeting to pore over the budget and hear presentations from department heads who requested funding beyond the county's plan, which is based on the maximum levy growth quotient.

Councilman Kyle Kerley, who is also the County Council president, said having a short budget hearing to adopt the budget in October is by design.

“We do all the heavy lifting in that September meeting so that when we get to October, everything is pretty smooth,” he said. “We advertised the budget 10 days ago. Once we advertise the budget, we don't really make any changes.”

Two changes were made to the budget before adoption Thursday, one of which was a raise for the deputy treasurer from $67,489, or 75% of the treasurer's salary, to $76,487, or 85%. The other change was two nursing positions for the county health department.

The council approved the overall county budget that totals about $238 million, which includes $125 million in the general fund.

The council also approved salary ordinances that granted 3% raises to all county employees, aside from part-time employees at the Memorial Coliseum.

“I feel proud that we give our employees raises every year, and we try to keep the salaries competitive and the wages competitive with not only our counterparts from the city and the state but the private sector as well,” Kerley said.

Councilman Tom Harris recognized the departments that were able to make their 2022 budgets work with less than what the growth quotient allows, including the offices of the clerk, auditor, treasurer, assessor, Wayne Township assessor, building department, and the department of planning services.

Cutting their budgets below the growth quotient is appreciated, Kerley said, because it allows that excess funding to be used elsewhere.

“It benefits taxpayers and other departments,” he said.

The County Council was also able to grant appeals for several departments, even if it wasn't the full amount some departments asked for. Auditor Nick Jordan said it was a normal year for county budget proceedings.

“Departments always want more, more, more, but there's unfortunately not an endless bucket of money,” he said.

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