Starke County Council Works on Budget

The Starke County Council worked on the 2012 budget all day Wednesday.

“This year, what we felt was a prudent thing to do, is to freeze the budget at the 2011 level,” said Starke County Council President, Mark Smith.

Smith said no raises were given county employees for 2012.

“I always hate it when it comes down to this because folks will say, ‘Don’t you know that those people deserve a raise?’ I absolutely believe that they deserve a raise. However, if we ‘froze’ the budget but allowed a raise, what I’m telling the taxpayers is ‘You’re going to get just a little less services but we’ve decided to give a raise anyway’. At some point, there’s got to be a little bit of a leveling out there, a little bit of fiscal responsibility, to look at the big picture.”

Smith said if revenues do improve in 2012, he’d like to see the “bump” go to cash reserves.

One reason the freeze was necessary is because the growth quotient decreased from 4.5-6% during the “good” years, to 2.9%.

The final figure approved was approximately $5.8 million dollars.