Microfilm Department, CDC Project Coordinator Remain Out of 2020 Pulaski County Budget

Pulaski County Council: back row: Mike Tiede, Kathi Thompson, Brian Young; front row: Scott Hinkle, Rudy DeSabatine, Jay Sullivan (not pictured: Ken Boswell)

Two Pulaski County employees are set to lose their jobs, under the 2020 budget narrowly approved by the county council Monday. A motion to reinstate the Community Development Commission’s project coordinator position failed by a vote of four-to-three, despite CDC Executive Director Nathan Origer’s efforts to persuade council members and the apparent support of much of the audience.

“If you’re here, entirely or partially, in support of my office, would you please stand?” Origer asked those in attendance. “We’ve got county employees, a member of the public, a couple of major employers represented, a school corporation represented, historical society represented, a county commissioner standing up, two commissioners standing up.” Origer added that if council members were concerned about the position’s $45,000 cost, he would be willing to look into whether it might be worth adding an innkeepers tax.

No motion was made to try to reinstate the Microfilm Department and its part-time employee, but Council Member Kathi Thompson did voice her criticism with its removal. “We got rid of Microfilm when we have laws regarding records retention that a lot of people don’t understand,” she said. “I think we took darts at this. We just took a big old dart board, and threw darts, and where they ended up, they ended up.”

Thompson argued that there were other departments which would have seen less of an impact from losing a staff member. Thompson’s motion to eliminate a clerical position in the Prosecutor’s Office failed to get a second, but her motion to cut the Maintenance Department’s Building Repairs budget from $250,000 all the way down to $100,000 was approved.

Meanwhile, $20,000 was removed from the EMS Department’s Building Repairs budget. Thompson noted that funds for the ambulance garage expansion may be encumbered from this year’s budget, if necessary.

Council members also took steps to correct some oversights in the budget proposal. The budget for part-time maintenance staff was moved back to just over $86,000, enough for four part-time staff members. Another $700 was made available to pay one of the county clerk’s deputies, who’s due to get a longevity raise that had been overlooked.

The final 2020 budget proposal ended up with a General Fund of just over $8.4 million and a Cumulative Capital Development Fund of almost $282,000. Council members Ken Boswell, Brian Young, and Thompson ended up voting against the budget. Those are the same three council members who voted in favor of reinstating the CDC’s project coordinator position.

The budget now goes to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance for final approval or further cuts.