Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Council Budget Hearings August 26, 2014

Budget Hearings August 26, 2014 

Present: Dennis Kraus. Sr., President, Dan Lansing, Liz Morris, Randy Lyness, Charlie Keyes, Ryan Brandt, and Bill Ullrich.
Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor and Leah Bailey, from Auditor’s office

Started Monday morning- but I was unable to attend those sessions. 

Council was advised by their accountant firm that they need to cut almost $3 million dollars.

8:45 AM

Solid Waste District- Mindy Smith – BJ Ault not here
17 employees  5 hourly and 2 salaried full time
$959,000 budget 10% increase
$959 fees so far and about $4000/month selling recycles.
Tax dollars were $693,000
They get their budget approved separately as they have their own taxing status and board similar to the library.

Commissioners COUNTY GENERAL- Terri Randall and Shane McHenry and Sue Hayden

Kraus- Some things need to come out of redevelopment budget- her ( Randall’s) part of salary $15,000 and adm. assistant for redevelopment ( Hayden)$4000

Computer maintenance- changing firewall and security thru Midwest data now so increase costs. $2000 initial cost or annual renewal of $985. $3000 initial or a 3 year contract for $3200. Randall looked to Hayden to check this out as she apparently had the details.  See below for Hayden’s input after checking with Midwest Data to verify.

Equipment repairs- a couple laser printers and copier. So old they don’t have maintenance agreements on it.

Expert fees are for legal fees if needed. – so they cut it as they haven’t use it.

$25,000 for Redevelopment Commission in Commissioners budget.  Kraus – they ( Redevelopment) have $600,000 in their account. They should use that and we cut our $25,000 from it now. Terri said Economic Dev. has always done that with contract.  Lansing where else do they get money from? TIF is getting some in. The Mill is the only new thing. Hirlingers will have TIF coming in. Terri asked Shane to speak to her salary issue and where the money was coming from. Liz Morris said it would be clearer and cleaner to have Redevelopment Salary coming out of that Redevelopment budget. She thinks it is important and that Redevelopment will grow. We came late to the party. We are in a better position now- and critical to move forward. BUT keep the lines of financial responsibility straight- be sure what is paid for each part is clearly coming form that particular budget. It was advertised in both budgets per Pennington.  McHenry has no problem with separating it. They put it there based on what council had said before. Morris wants it separated so as not to muddy waters. If the job increases for Redevelopment then it is clearly a separate job. [NOTE: This allows the Commissioners and Redevelopment to adjust these positions from 2015 onward. And it helps to keep the checks and balances in place on pay and duties.]

Hayden gave the numbers and $700+ savings on prepay to council. Decided to do one year contract on technology and security because it changes so fast- it could be cheaper or something new comes in so the 3 year contract may be obsolete. (see computer maintenance comments above)

EMS moneys – Council asking questions about that and also the paid units from outside the county that we contract with. Doing the $100,000 program again- a volunteer equipment program. Performance based on their runs completed. Sunman submits for $20,000 per squad just like those inside the county. Liability insurance is high.  Randall thinks the experience is improving- maybe our rates will.

Animal Shelter is now thru PAWS via contract agreement. The shelter numbers are separated from the animal control numbers.
 CMHC is on the Commissioners budget too.

McHenry said there is a senator NOT up for reelection who is coming hard for riverboat money again. He’s from Boone County, IN. Lawrenceburg lobbyist confirmed this per Randall. [NOTE: Are they trying to justifying lobbyist fees? This big threat always seems to emerge at budget and lobbying contract times. Then we hear very little from the lobbyist or about their so-called reports.]

Progress on ADA compliance still – signage in Braille still to do etc.


Terri Randall and Dave Deddens- Jim Deaton was here but left before this started. Budget is the same. Previously $25,000 was from the county. Kraus has only been to a couple meetings as rep to Redevelopment so far- in answer to Morris question on his thoughts. Flood plain study is coming out of budget. Maxwell’s monthly  contract is in there also.
Question about the Economic Development Research technician working under a grant from Lawrenceburg for 3 mayors and county. $100,000 is going thru the county as we administer it. He gets a 1099 from the county. It is just out of grant money.
 March 2015 is Mill opening. Already talking with Naegele for the next coordinating business to the Mill. $2000 for bonds that are not needed so Kraus wants to cut it. Randall believes that DCRC has to have audited financial statements.

Lyness says it’s his opinion- but he feels it’s their (Redevelopment)
money and they should  they spend it wisely. If they aren’t spending wisely then the budget stays but then he thinks some people would need to be changed. [NOTE: Actually –I think of it as TAXPAYER money and the Council needs to be a check and balance on the system.]


Mike Hornbach- explained his budget and what Purdue covers of it. 1% increase plus $13 over last year’s budget. County has no control over salaries there. Mileage was increased. If it is left over it goes back to general fund. They have only had to ask once for a mileage additional. Cleaning costs had no increase since 2008. Checking out to see about covering contents under county policy. Cutting postage a bit as a way to trim with less pain. They are trying to email more. Cutting travel and mileage a bit to last year’s amount. Postage $3500, Communications is landline only with unlimited long distance- necessary for their calls.

10:15 AM

I left at this point.

Tuesday afternoon- 2 PM

Building Dept.- Bill Shelton  finishing up his budget- trying to cut pieces out of his budget- like mileage and seminars and conferences by reducing amounts in those sections. Shelton was moved up from Thursday morning on the schedule.

WAITING FOR NEXT ITEM: Discussion about getting an IT person to do all of the county rather than hiring outside contractors all the time. There is no consistency in the security programs between the courthouse and administration building, They also said there was something that they had brought up with the county administrator to look into. Pennington said that nothing had been reported back about that to commissioners. [NOTE: So the county administrator has not finished getting the website up and they have no input yet on managing it in-house. Websites need updates and an experienced and savvy IT person is something that would put the county out to the public (and economic development) in a way that reaches the most people. Pooling the computer maintenance resources might yield enough money to pay for this. The ripple effect of having it done well COULD be a big efficiency and economic plus.]


 Aaron Negangard – (Bryan Messmore was also present)  discussed several different accounts for his budget. The Council pulled out several different sheets from their packets:
Basically asking for same money as last year. With any additional raises you grant we would like to be considered for those too. Couple of problems- witness fees and professional witness fees. We have had more jury trials coming. AIT –the lab we use is causing more witness fees for drug and driving cases. State dept of toxicology is not up to par so they have increases in getting tests done elsewhere. There is a problem in prosecutor deposition and spent $30,000 in 6 months and only had $10,000 allotted.  There is more audio and video evidence than before. We have to videotape now by new rule and had an audiotape they had before wouldn’t be admissible. Those also have to get transcribed. Spent $3000 to get tapes transcribed on one case. He anticipates that may exceed $60,000 next year. They may hire a full time transcriptionist in the future- but doesn’t want to have to do that. Messmore and their IT guy (Who is their IT guy? ) have created a schedule to replace the laptops. They are paying for new ones right now out of seizure funds. Only approve same as last year and I will take care of the rest out of seizure funds. He wants them to be aware of the actual cost of those for the future- in case they don’t have seizure funds to cover that someday. [NOTE: Just how much money is in seizure funds?]

Pre-trial Diversion - Fund 2502- asking for what was done last year. Asking for a new investigator position. That was frowned on – and now it will be paid for from seizure funds. Assigned to SCU and investigating financial crimes similar to the Acapulco case. Doing this basically to level the field there and continue to receive seized fund. [NOTE: This sounded like they are targeting cases like this for the seizure fund “income”.]

APS shortfall – Adult Protective Services- this is a bureaucratic nightmare. Fortunately we have the money to fix this. State assigned this to prosecutors- elder Abuse and fraud cases- about 20 years ago. RPAPS workers serve 5 county areas. Dearborn County is projected to have 80% of population over age 65 in 30 years. Get APS money from July to July on a fiscal year and the budget is on a calendar year. I couldn’t get reimbursed for health insurance plans properly. We spent more money than we get reimbursed for. They are $30,000 in the hole. Negangard says they got an $8,000 increase in our grant and there is a deficit. We need to pay that deficit off out of forfeiture (seizure account ) money so that we don’t get hit by SBOA -State Board of Accounts -again for it. [NOTE: Again using seizure money to pay off.]

Adult Protective Services - $98,895 and an $80,000 grant comes in two pieces.  They used a bait and switch- add money if you add another person- but then they didn’t give us enough for the extra person.

Child Support gets reimbursed at 66% and then we get incentives. The incentive money is up to $100,000. Prosecutor, clerk and county share in this money. They originally sent Child Support to the Prosecutor’s office. They changed the rules so that it can only be spent for Child support services now. [NOTE: How unusual – to actually spend it for what it is named.]  Money has accrued there so we will use it for computers or whatever. $17,000 of this was used to supplement one person’s salary. 4D money is reimbursed at 66% so only costs the county 1/3. Also have to separate out these expenses. Some of this we share with 4D as it is reimbursed at 66%.

Lansing asked- How do you keep all of this stuff straight? Negangard said it has taken him quite a while.

Negangard said he had to send in an additional request to Council for court reporters who aren’t paid up yet.

CAC- Childrens Advocacy Center- he will be making a request for that sometime later- that is money well spent- but that will have to wait for another evening.

3:05 PM

After break- Kraus said- they need to add Prosecutor to that Advisory Board on the personnel  for deciding if they grant new position. He has a new position in Fund 4905- a $50,000 position for new investigator.  Kraus said- the money isn’t a problem- He has over $3 million in that pool. (Seizure account) No one knew what the new position was for.

Public defender- is officially Gary Sorge per Ullrich- in answer to Brandt’s question.


Judge James Humphrey- looks like most are the same. The main things to highlight are on attorney’s fees. They have a new law requiring an attorney for all juvenile beginning hearings. They can’t waive an attorney without an attorney being there. They would like to have a chief public defender ( 2 of them) under contract. They would assist the current public defender. They are also having a problem with attorney guardians ad litem. We are having a huge number of people representing themselves pro se. Over half of divorce cases are being filed without attorneys now. Also need to set up funds for guardians ad litem to take on a set number of cases for a set fee. That’s his goal. It’s his best judgment to try this to get some limitation on this. He was told not to come back to the office unless I mention getting a new copy machine. Liz Morris said that they should put in the additional for him at the next meeting so they get it done and he doesn’t have to come back for it.

Humphrey said that in Ohio County there is less volume than here. Humphrey said that he is looking to add those 2 public defenders as 1099 employees. There was one case with 25 defendents last year. He had to go all over the tri-state to get those covered. There were 2-3 who hired their own attorney. He said that he had to hire attorneys in about 95% of cases. They do get some reimbursement for that.

Almost all juvenile delinquency and criminal cases get appointed attorney. The other big growth is in the attorney guardian ad litem cases. Heroin in the community is causing big problems in the families in some cases. Either Magistrate Schmaltz or he have to make decisions as to how to protect the kids. When he first started it was unheard of for people to file their own dissolution. Even without kids there are pension plans, debts, and real estate to consider. $130,000 in public defender fees collected. $14,390 in the guardian ad litem account.  Doesn’t want to touch that account as 20 years ago or so they had a case that used up $250,000 in attorney fees. They want to be able to cover a major case like that.
He anticipates at least 3 more major jury trials this year if things continue as the previous part of the year. If it’s a regular dissolution – they don’t have to appoint an attorney, unless there are children or a question of competency or a contempt action. (He keeps wanting to not use much in that emergency account.) But said he is willing to do it for one year to meet budget. Council was needing him to use $20,000 out of that account. That $130,000 account (Pauper attorney) only grows by $8-10,000 a year.

Liz Morris said it is surprising how people can find money if they want something bad enough.  Sometimes grandparents… Humphrey said that he can’t use extended family funds to evaluate their ability to pay.

 I left at 4:05 PM  after Humphrey finished.

Christine Brauer Mueller

Lawrenceburg Township

1 comment:

ADC said...

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