Starke County’s 2016 budget is in balance after action by the council during a special-called Monday afternoon meeting. They found out last week the state slashed their submitted budget by more than half a million dollars.
Prior to the meeting, Auditor Kay Chaffins compared each department’s proposed 2016 spending with their 2015 actual expenditures and came up with a list of potential cuts. They ranged from lows of $1,000 each for the recorder and auditor’s offices to almost $122,000 slashed from the commissioners budget. Most of that cut was due to a one-time reduction in health insurance premium costs.
Council members reluctantly shifted some of the general fund operating expenses for the jail to the dedicated county economic development income tax raised to pay for the new building. The council noted this is not a long-term solution, as that money will run out once the jail bond is paid off and the tax sunsets in 2033.
The council cut a total of $566,541 from the general fund budget. That’s a reduction of almost 9 percent. Additional cuts were made to the reassessment, cumulative bridge, health department and cumulative capital development funds, for a total overall budget reduction of more than $806,000.