Pulaski County Council Approves 2019 Budget, Salary Matrix But Leaves Several Issues Unresolved

The Pulaski County Council almost forgot to adopt the 2019 budget Monday. The approval finally came after more than four hours of occasionally contentious discussions but relatively little action on several budget-related items.

For one thing, funding to expand the Building Department Assistant position into a full-time job was not included. During the council’s joint session with the county commissioners Monday, the commissioners recommended the change, but council members wanted more time before making a decision. The question of raising the Reassessment tax as requested by Assessor Holly VanDerAa was barely even addressed, and no action was taken on the potential tax hike.

Council members did vote to proceed with having an outside firm create a comprehensive five-year financial plan for the county, but the commissioners decided to hold off on any action until council members provide more guidelines. However, the county council did approve updates to the salary matrix along with the “matrix rules,” which will take effect in 2019.

Council members were about ready to adjourn their regular meeting after 10:00 p.m., when they were reminded to approve the budget. President Jay Sullivan and member Linda Powers said they thought that had already been done, but Auditor Laura Wheeler had no record of that happening.

In the end, the county council voted to adopt the budget as presented. It calls for a total budget of just over $21.7 million, with almost half of that being the General Fund.