Several Concerns Remain to Be Addressed, As Pulaski County’s Budget Discussions Continue

The Pulaski County Council is hoping to cut budgets, adjust the salary matrix, and start reconfiguring the county’s tax structure, all within the next month or so. Council members will continue discussing potential budget cuts with department heads tonight and next Monday at 7:00 p.m. EDT in the Pulaski County Highway Garage. During last week’s special session, Council Member Kathi Thompson said there are still several departments they need to see.

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Pulaski County Officials to Research Tax Adjustments, Spending Cuts, As Fiscal Planning Continues

Pulaski County officials may soon be asking state lawmakers to help balance out the county’s tax structure. The county currently has one of the highest income tax rates in the state but relatively low property taxes. But fiscal planning consultant Jeffrey Peters told the county council and commissioners Monday that simply replacing income taxes with property taxes isn’t always possible.

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First Part of Fiscal Plan Presented to Pulaski County Council, Commissioners

Fiscal Planning Consultant Jeffrey Peters (standing) discusses Pulaski County’s finances with the county council and commissioners

Pulaski County could see annual funding shortfalls of $2.7 million within the next few years, if it remains on its current financial path. Consultant Jeffrey Peters presented the first part of a fiscal plan to the county council and commissioners Monday.

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Fiscal Planning Consultant to Pulaski County Council: ‘You’re on a Track That You Can’t Continue On’

Pulaski County’s tax structure is not sustainable. That’s what fiscal planning consultant Jeffrey Peters told the county council during a public hearing Monday. “You’re on a track that you can’t continue on,” he said, “and those income taxes are going to have to be shifted around in some fashion, in order to get you back to an equilibrium to provide services under a revenue model that does not eat up all your cash over time.”

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Pulaski County Commissioners Hire Fiscal Planning Consultant

Pulaski County Commissioners: Mike McClure, Jerry Locke, Kenny Becker

The Pulaski County Commissioners are moving ahead with a fiscal plan. They voted two-to-one Monday to hire Peters Municipal Consultants to put the plan together, with Jerry Locke voting in opposition. Of the two proposals the county received, Peters’ was apparently cheaper, with a maximum cost of $24,000, compared to Umbaugh and Associates’ cap of $35,000.

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Pulaski County Council, Commissioners Hear Fiscal Planning Proposals

Pulaski County officials continue to consider hiring an outside consultant to help put together a fiscal plan for the county. The county council and commissioners heard presentations from two firms Monday, but no final action was taken by the commissioners. County officials have been looking at adjusting the county’s tax structure for over a year. It currently relies heavily on income taxes, which is expected to become an increasing problem as the county’s population continues to decline.

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Pulaski County Council to Consider Hiring Outside Help with Adjusting Tax Structure

The Pulaski County Council is not likely to address issues with its local income tax structure in time to have an impact on the 2019 budget. A sudden drop in revenues from the “LIT Levy Freeze” tax was brought to the county council’s attention in September of 2017. In the months that followed, there were some discussions about working with an accounting firm to address the issues, but little progress was made.

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Winamac Town Council Agrees to Attend Joint Meeting With Umbaugh and Other Local Officials

Officials in the town of Winamac agreed to attend a joint meeting with Umbaugh and other local officials to discuss issues with the local income tax (LIT).

When town council members met in a special session on Monday, Clerk-Treasurer Melanie Berger informed them that Pulaski County Public Library representatives recently met with Umbaugh Executive Partner Todd Samuelson to discuss the problem.

Berger said they expressed an interest in holding a meeting where town and county officials, as well as any other agencies impacted by LIT levy freeze, could receive additional information from Umbaugh. Continue reading

Pulaski County Council Considering Options, Following Income Tax Revenue Shortfalls

Pulaski County may be looking to state lawmakers to help make up a shortfall in local income tax revenues. The issue was brought to the attention of the county council last month, after Winamac officials noticed a sudden drop in the town’s share of Local Levy Freeze Income Tax funds. Pulaski County communities are now facing big holes in their 2018 budgets.

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