Check out this article describing where the county budget was in 2006 compared to where it is now. And a few changes that got us deeper in the hole.
The auditor brought up another factor this morning, and that is the different city annexations has decreased the county's share of income taxes that are collected.
Let me know your comments our questions.
This is factual summary of a few events that led to Clark County’s structural deficit.
The 2006 Indiana Farm Bureau County Statistical Report showed Clark County general fund budget in last place (86th of 86 counties listed) at $135 per capita. Howard County had a smaller population; however its 2006 county general budget was $21.6 million while Clark County’s budget was $13.1 million.
In 2007, the Clark County Council passed the 2008 budget with across-the-board reductions of 25 percent from the 2007 budget that had been calculated at the maximum levy then available to the county. It was the intention of the council to keep those reductions in the operating balance, however that did not happen.
The actions in adopting the 2008 budget accordingly had the effect of reducing the maximum levy for 2008 and subsequent budget years by operation of the provisions of the state statute. This reduction has lowered property tax revenue into the county general fund by $1.5 million, plus or minus, each year since.
In August 2009, Clark County incurred further unanticipated financial distress when the Department of Local Government Finance determined that Clark County would no longer be able to fund the operating expenses of its Building Authority incurred in operating the County Building and courthouse with a tax levy outside its general fund in the manner that had been employed for the prior 36 years. This determination from the DLGF resulted in a $985,000+/- additional annual payment obligation from either the general fund or reserves to the extent available.
In 2012, Indiana State Board of Accounts audited the Alcohol and Drug Program User Fee Fund (CCADS) from 2008 to 2010. The majority of the revenue source for CCADS was from traffic violations. The SBOA determined these fees were collected for alcohol and drug services, however not sufficient services were provided to justify the fee collection.
This opinion is a reversal of the policy that had been in place for some 25 years. The SBOA also determined the expenses from the fund were spent on items that were not allowed per state statute. Many of these expenses in recent years were to help offset the county general shortfall by supplementing the prosecutor’s budget, system administration (IT) budget, as well as Clark Superior III court/probation budget. The funds collected for CCADS from traffic infractions are now being sent to the state, diverting around $800,000+/- from county control.
Also in 2012, Clark County Commissioners voted to raise the 2013 county cum bridge tax rate collecting $1.7 million from the previous $300,000 to pay for bridge repair work. The cum bridge tax rate is inside the county’s normal tax levy, which means when the bridge levy goes up the county general levy goes down.
This change from 2012 to 2013 resulted in diverting $1.4 million +/- away from the county general fund. It was argued at the time these bridge dollars were needed to replace the wheel tax revenue that was repealed in 2007.
These four issues have resulted in a net decrease of around $4.7 million to the Clark County general fund.
The 2013, Indiana Farm Bureau County Statistical Report lists Clark County’s general fund still in last place (90th out of 90 counties listed) at $71 per capita; the next highest (Johnson) is $123 per capita which is 73 percent higher than Clark. Vigo County has a smaller population than Clark (110,000), but a 2013 county general budget of $28,900,000, Clark County’s 2013 general budget was $7,800,000.
Edited by BrianLenfert, 10 February 2015 - 09:45 AM.