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.
Pulaski County will not be charging its residents a wheel tax in the near future. The issue was discussed during last week’s joint county council and commissioners meeting, after the Bureau of Motor Vehicles asked for an update.
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.
Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver spoke with Knox City Council members about an estimated deficit in the city’s CEDIT account at their meeting last Tuesday.
Back in October, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston mentioned that he received a notification from the Department of Local Government Finance indicating that there would be a projected loss of revenue of $34,908 for next year. He told members that sometimes those figures can be off but also assured them that the SCEDF was working with representatives from Umbaugh to get to the bottom of it.
At the most recent council meeting, Weaver informed members that after speaking with the city’s financial advisor Todd Samuelson of Umbaugh and Associates, he had a better understanding of why next year’s numbers are lower than the figures from 2017. Continue reading
Pulaski County communities are facing budget deficits, due to a shortfall in local income tax revenues. The issue was brought to the attention of the county council Monday, after Winamac Clerk-Treasurer Melanie Berger noticed a decline in the town’s share of Local Levy Freeze Income Tax funds.
The Knox City Council got some more information Tuesday about how to pay for upgrades to the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center. Continue reading
The Culver-Union Township Public Library hopes to make some facility upgrades, while refinancing some of its debt. Continue reading
The Marshall County Commissioners and the Marshall County Council met in joint session Monday morning to discuss the possibility of refinancing the bonds the county took out when the Marshall County Jail was built back in 2006.
The bond for the jail project was roughly $15 million in 2006 and $11 million is still outstanding. The county is hoping to lower their payment of $1.2 million per year until 2026.
Phil Faccenda, Jr. of Barnes and Thornburg of South Bend and Kathy Clark, President of the Culver Redevelopment Commission requested the Marshall County Commissioners to approve a resolution to include more properties into the Culver TIF (Tax Increment Finance) District.
Faccenda explained that the Culver Redevelopment Commission is going through a process of expanding the Culver economic development area one.
The second informational meeting held by the Starke County Jail Committee was held last night in North Judson.
Those in attendance heard Todd Samuelson of Umbaugh and Associates talk about the funding of a new jail, using the figure $13.5 million. If property taxes were used to fund the project, the tax implication would be $.12 per $100.00 of net assessed value. The bond issue would be for a maximum of 20 years according to Samuelson. Some members of the committee said they are looking into a combination of property taxes and income taxes if a new jail were built.
The Jail Committee stressed that no decision has been made on whether to build a new jail, or not.
It was pointed out that Starke has the second oldest jail in the state with many problems arising over the past year.
The final information meeting will be tonight at the Oregon-Davis High School at 6:00 p.m.
A sparse crowd attended the first Starke County Jail Committee informational meeting at the Knox Middle School Cafeteria last night.
Sheriff Oscar Cowen addressed the needs at the jail and County Attorney Martin Lucas spoke on the impact a class action lawsuit could have on the project as it works its way through the court system. Starke County Council President David Pearman talked about the five options the committee is discussing.
The Starke County Jail Committee will be holding informational meetings on the jail situation in the third week in January. Although dates and locations have not been established, the Committee has agreed to meet at three sites.
The meetings are being held in the early stages of the Committee’s work to provide Republican Representative Doug Gutwein, of Francesville, with more information to present to the state legislature. Gutwein has agreed to author CEDIT legislation that could fund, or partially fund, whatever is decided by the committee as the best remedy for the aged jail structure.
The Starke County Council approved a $25,000 request from the Commissioners that would be used to secure the assistance of Umbaugh and Associates and Ice Miller, LLC in pursuing special legislation that would help in the funding of a jail project once the scope of that project is determined.
The committee selected to study how to correct problems at the jail was brought up to date this week on what would happen if a Federal Court judge was to mandate that a new jail be built. Starke County already has a class action suit against it, and with the condition of the jail it is not out of the realm of possibility that other law suits could be forthcoming in the future.
The first Starke County Jail Committee meeting will be held this evening. Commissioner Kathy Norem will chair the meeting. Norem announced last week that Todd Samuelson from Umbaugh and Associates will be at the first meeting. Samuelson is an expert on financing, and is expected to explain options as the committee moves forward making decisions on how to correct problems associated with the deteriorating Starke County Jail.