ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Allen County Council finalized its recommendations for the 2013 budget, and included in those recommendations are 2 percent cuts to county departments.
The cuts are recommended, according to council members, as a way to prevent money from being taken out of the county’s rainy day fund to balance the budget, which is expected to be $84 million. The rainy day fund is comprised of between $12 million and $13 million.
Councilmen also recommended Thursday that no capital requests by departments be approved. They could be obtained, if a strong case is made, in August during the appeals process.
Darren Vogt (R), 3rd District County Councilman, says he believes it will be tough for departments to convince council that their capital requests are necessary expenses.
“I saw the original capital requests, and I think that they could probably find ways to work within that budget because what it's going to do is create a problem with the rainy day fund or an increase in salaries down the road. Or we’ve got to cut somewhere else.”
Furthering their effort to maintain the rainy day fund, council also recommended a $250,000 cut from the 2013 budget allotment provided to the Youth Services Center of Allen County. The council points to $700,000 cash on-hand that Youth Services currently has in a Youth Services Placement Fund that can be used to meet 2013 expenses.
Lastly, the council also recommended a 2 percent bonus for county employees in response to the employees paying 3 percent of their yearly salary into their retirement funds.
A major sticking point in negotiations on Wednesday and Thursday was addressing the county’s self-funded healthcare. Vogt says skyrocketing claims in 2012 and what might occur in 2013 are reasons not to pull money out of the rainy day fund.
“We've got to find ways to make sure that we can keep the dollars that we have as our health insurance costs continue to grow this year. We're spending almost $5 million in extra costs for healthcare for our employees. So, if that continues to grow, we're going to have to take more and more out of the rainy day fund and it won't last.”
Next Tuesday, council will sit down with its broker to further dive into the increasing claims and to see how the cost of the county’s clinic influences the budget.
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