Franklin Co. Council Band-Aids Large Budget Shortfall
By Mike Perleberg
(Franklin County, Ind.) – Franklin County Council is avoiding county employee reductions, at least in the short term.
The county is trying to find a way to account for a $1.5 million budget shortfall this year.
Part of the gap came because the City of Lawrenceburg stopped a $500,000 yearly stipend to Franklin County because the county was not using the grant money funds for its intended purpose: economic development. Franklin County had instead used the grant for general fund expenses. According to The Franklin County Observer newsletter, Lawrenceburg is still working with the Franklin County Redevelopment Commission to provide a $126,000 grant to the commission.
Last week, county council met and decided to borrow $375,000 dollars in rainy day funds to shore up the general fund, The Observer reported. Another $532,000 will be diverted from the County Adjusted Gross Income Tax Fund. Council members also voted to implement a hiring freeze.
Councilman Aaron Leffingwell motioned to strip county council members and county commissioners of health insurance through the county as a cost-saving measure. The motion failed on a 5-2 vote, with Leffingwell and Daryl Kramer in the minority.
Still well in the red, Franklin County council could eventually be forced to reduce the county workforce. Several employees in various departments could lose their jobs. Council voted 4-3 to delay any layoffs until August.
One way to avoid that situation would be to increase the county’s tax revenues. The Observer reported that tax revenues have decreased in recent years. Council members suggested options such as a wheel tax, raising property tax rates, or a public safety tax.
Franklin County Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m.