Deep Starke County Budget Cuts Anticipated Today


The Starke County Council and Commissioners have less than two weeks to slash half a million dollars from the 2016 budget. They’re meeting jointly today at 3 p.m. to begin that task.

The cuts need to be made due to reductions made by the state to the budget submitted by the county for approval. Auditor Kay Chaffins broke the news to the council and commissioners during a special joint meeting last Monday to discuss capital project spending priorities. Those have also been scaled back due to the county’s financial constraints.

County government officals asked Chaffins to go over the budget and find possible spending reductions. They’ve also asked department heads to do likewise. Final action on those budget cuts is anticipated during tonight’s regularly scheduled council meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. in the annex meeting room.

In addition to cutting the budget for the new year, the council will also move funds around as necessary to close out 2015 and consider a few requests to amend the salary ordinance. Their agenda also includes setting the daily convicted inmate cost of reimbursement rate. State law caps it at $30 per day and outlines who is exempt from paying based on their financial situation. During their most recent meeting, the county commissioners approved the collection of the fee from inmates sentenced to at least 72 hours in the Starke County Jail.

The commissioners are also meeting this evening following the council meeting. Their agenda includes discussion with the park board about removing beavers from the Starke County Forest. County building administrator Terry Stephenson will present information about tax sale eligible delinquent properties with unsafe building liens and a public nuisance ordinance as well.