Jump to content



Photo

Clark County Budget


  • Please log in to reply
165 replies to this topic

#1 BrianLenfert

BrianLenfert

    Resident

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 90 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 09:12 AM

http://www.newsandtr...f6c4ff8f6b.html

 

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.

  • Not Super But Honest Mike, Tina and Jeff all my Life like this

#2 snowman

snowman

    Local Legend

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,673 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 09:43 AM

Clark ranking 16th in population and last in general fund... what up



#3 BrianLenfert

BrianLenfert

    Resident

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 90 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 09:50 AM

Not just last place, but a distant last place.  The next highest county general budget per capita is Johnson County.  We're at $71/capita, and they're at $123/capita; 73% higher than ours.  Every other county general budget is larger than that, the average being $205.



#4 Not Super But Honest Mike

Not Super But Honest Mike

    Local Legend

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,711 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 10:10 AM

Great set of facts Brian. I've been hoping someone would post the true facts about the county's shortfall. And I believe Monty said the annexation cost the county just over 1 million in lost revenue. When taking million dollar hits to the budget the damage adds up at a rapid pace.

 

I always been told the 25% reduction was intended to be kept in the operating balance, but somehow it was eliminated from the budget. Can you tell us how this was eliminated from the budget? Who eliminated it? I've never heard a good explanation of how this was cut from the budget.



#5 BrianLenfert

BrianLenfert

    Resident

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 90 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 10:35 AM

The best account I have read about the events that took place was compiled by Greg Fifer in his brief he wrote to the Tax Appeal Court.  It is an easy read considering it is a legal document and lays out the entire situation and even includes direct quotes from council members from the meeting minutes, and even follow-up emails from council members to the DLGF during the time.

 

I will try to attach the document.

 

 



#6 BrianLenfert

BrianLenfert

    Resident

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 90 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 10:43 AM

The file is too big to attach, but the guts of the brief is only 17 pages.  If anyone wants me to send it to them, email me and I will send it via email.  LenfertConstruct@aim.com



#7 Tina

Tina

    Tinacious

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,739 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 10:43 AM

Very good numbers Brian.

 

I've also done the numbers on where we compare on assessed values to other counties of similar parcel size & population.  I haven't ran the numbers for all 92 counties, but of the 7 or 8 counties I compared, our county is dead last on the percentage of NAV to GAV.  I don't have my spreadsheet in front of me, but we capture less than 50% of our GAV. 

 

If you'd like me to do it for all 92 counties to see where we fall on that, I can do so as well.



#8 BrianLenfert

BrianLenfert

    Resident

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 90 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 11:03 AM

I have no doubt our NAV % is lower than average because of our large amounts of TIF's in this county.  However, that is a completely separate issue, because our tax levy (property tax revenue) is not affected by NAV.  Our tax levy is fixed by the State to what it was the prior year only increasing by their growth quotient, usually 2.5-3%. 

 

The only thing the NAV affects is the tax rate people pay.  The indirect affect NAV's have on the county's revenue is the higher that tax rate people pay the higher the circuit breaker (tax cap).  The total county general circuit breaker last year was $679,000.


  • Tina likes this

#9 RStephenson

RStephenson

    Councilman

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 476 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 12:12 PM

Great posts Brian. I would also mention the fact that with us being a doughnut community (a community that neighbors a large metropolitan area) our jails and court system are full of offenders from across the bridge resulting in higher jail and court costs.

The elimination of all but the Clarksville City Court has also caused a financial hardship on the county. The municipalities annex more area and reduce such city services as the courts increases their tax base while cutting services decreases their expenditures.

All bridges in the county, even if it is in the annexed area are the responsibility of the county.
  • Tina likes this

#10 Tina

Tina

    Tinacious

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,739 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 12:38 PM

Doing away with township assessors also put all that burden on the county.
  • Big Bopper likes this

#11 BrianLenfert

BrianLenfert

    Resident

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 90 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 01:50 PM

A couple other hits to the county budget has been:

 

Housing less DOC inmates (collecting less fees for jail use): $522,000 in 2013, down to $246,000 in 2014.

Inheritance tax elimination: $196,000 in 2013, down to $9,000 in 2014



#12 Tina

Tina

    Tinacious

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,739 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 02:07 PM

Brian, I'd like to see the municipalities work together with the county. Especially before doing things like eliminatng city court. Do you ever see that happening, or will it just be expected for the taxpayers to pay more in mandates?

#13 Diogenes

Diogenes

    BANNED

  • Account Closed
  • Pip
  • 49 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 02:14 PM

Well Brian, I am glad you have made yourself available to questions from the citizens whom YOU work for here is question #1 from me:

 

What programs or departments does the county fund either through the general fund or some othe rsource that is not mandated by statue?

 

question #2 to follow once you answer this one.



#14 BrianLenfert

BrianLenfert

    Resident

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 90 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 03:45 PM

Well, I am constantly available to the citizens via email or cell phone which are both posted on the county website.

 

I am sure there a many programs that are performed by the county that are not mandated by the state.  Most of these programs are offered thru the health department, courts and probation.  I would have to say that a great majority of the programs are funded from grants.

 

I cannot think of any significant program that comes out of county general that is not mandated by the state.

 

The departments that are mandated by the state do not have any statute requirement of how much they are to be funded, so if you wanted to get technical then I guess we could fund them with $1.  The only department that I can think of that may not be state mandated would be juvenile detention.


Edited by BrianLenfert, 10 February 2015 - 03:47 PM.


#15 Diogenes

Diogenes

    BANNED

  • Account Closed
  • Pip
  • 49 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 04:08 PM

Alright to continue with that answer here is question #2

 

What has the budget been for the last 2 or 3 years for juvenille detention, do they spend everything and how many patrons does this department aide or assist annually?



#16 BrianLenfert

BrianLenfert

    Resident

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 90 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 04:36 PM

They are funded from multiple sources.  Grant money, project income (housing out-of-county inmates), and county general.  County general is around $670,000; the grant is around $50,000; and the project income is around $160,000.  It is a 14 bed facility.



#17 Curmudgeon

Curmudgeon

    Councilman

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 303 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 06:24 PM

Technically, I suppose we are not "obligated" to do planning and zoning.  However, it would seem a bit short-sighted to consider eliminating given the significant growth that the County continues to experience (the pace of which can only increase with the opening of the East End bridge).

 

With respect to juvenile detention, due to litigation risk (and perhaps as a purely moral choice) we can't house juveniles in the general jail population. Eliminating the facility and program would require us to instead incur significant costs in transporting and housing juveniles at another facility.  I have no idea how far away that might be or how much it might cost (but I suspect it would be substantial).

 

Councilman Lenfert is on the right track -- given the constraints of current State law and the magnitude of our self-imposed wounds, this problem can only be solved in Indianapolis.



#18 Diogenes

Diogenes

    BANNED

  • Account Closed
  • Pip
  • 49 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 06:25 PM

To continue this line of communication in regards to your reply to question #2 here is question #3

 

a)How many at any given time are residing in the facility that are Clark County juveniles -vs- out of county and staff manning the facility 24/7, so what is this costing us the citizens per day per Clark County juvenile housed there?


  • kelley likes this

#19 Tina

Tina

    Tinacious

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,739 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 07:16 PM

 

Councilman Lenfert is on the right track -- given the constraints of current State law and the magnitude of our self-imposed wounds, this problem can only be solved in Indianapolis.

 

First, I'd like to see the various elected officials in all the townships, municipalities & county could sit down and have a conversation for the betterment of the people in this county.  Are any of the local municipalities hurting for funds?  Could any TIFs (like, say, Veteran's Pkwy) pass through assessed value first?  

Our cities & towns should hopefully understand how they are hurting their own citizens by ignoring the county's plight.  When they ADD to the already burdened budget, I don't understand how they can tell their citizens they just saved them money.  No they didn't.  Jeffersonville taxes will not go down because the court was eliminated.  That spending will just move elsewhere.  Meanwhile, the county courts WILL have added expenses and their constituents will be mandated to help pay for that.



#20 Oldgoat

Oldgoat

    Commissioner

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,980 posts

Posted 10 February 2015 - 09:07 PM

Two words:  MERGED SERVICES!  Far too much duplication of services / resources.  It is wasteful and inefficient to have so many governmental and taxing units overlapping and abutting each other.  Make it as efficient as possible first, then and only then go to the taxpayers for what is needed to properly run the county.  I believe we would all be much more receptive then.


  • Greg Clark, Tina and grammy like this




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users