Pulaski County Council May Look at Property Taxes to Resolve Budget Shortfalls

The Pulaski County Council is working to make sure the maintenance department has enough money to pay its part-time employees through the end of the year. Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Johnston reminded council members Monday that they’d cut money for part-time pay when they put together this year’s budget. “You guys, at that time, told me to come back halfway through the year and request enough to cover the rest of the year,” he explained. “It’s for $30,016 for Part-Time Help.”

It’s one of a few line items that council members cut to meet state requirements, with the understanding that once the budget was approved, that money would just be added back as an additional appropriation. Council member Ken Boswell expressed concern with that arrangement. “We do that all the time,” he noted. I don’t know what the answer is to that, but it needs to stop.”

Council President Jay Sullivan said that eventually, the county will probably have to look at adjusting its property tax rate.

The discussion came on the same night that council members finalized over $1.25 million in additional appropriations. That included funding for large-scale projects that have come up, like the courthouse elevator replacement and the purchase and renovation of the former Winamac Masonic Lodge for use as a morgue. But it also included money for Superior Court pauper counsel and salaries for four 911 dispatchers.

Meanwhile, council members voted to advertise Johnston’s request for an additional appropriation to his Part-Time Help line item, for consideration next month.

They also agreed to transfer $10,000 to help pay for the snow removal and lawn mowing contract. Johnston said that outsourcing the work has been working out, so far. “They’re doing well,” he told the council. “We had some pretty big storms a while back, and they did a really good job there getting that all cleaned up. It’s taken a large chunk of work off of us. We’re still busy, but it’s really taken a large chunk off of us.”

Council members agreed to take the money from the department’s Building and Structure line item.