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September 6, 2013

County approves $24 million budget

The Daviess County Council has set the financial blueprint for the coming year by adopting the budget. The council trudged through 2 days of hearings and debates before finally voting unanimously to accept the budget. It includes $1,000 pay increases for most of the 180 full-time employees and office holders and a 3-percent hike for part-time workers.

The council did exclude raises for the sheriff, Circuit Court judge, Superior Court judge, prosecutor and probation officers, because those wages are set by the state. "I feel good," said County Council President Michael Myers. "It's a good budget. We got to give out healthy raises."

One raise went through even though the office holder requested that his salary not go up. Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit told the council he did not want the $1,210 raise set by the state. "I talked with the state," said County Auditor Gail Doades, "and they said we can't cut it."

"This is one of those state mandated things we can't do anything with," said Councilman Mike Sprinkle. "We just have no control over those."

The council and commissioners did not receive a raise.

Other than the salary requests, most of the budgets submitted by office holders and department heads went through with very little change. "I think the department heads and office holders did a really good job in preparing their budgets," said Sprinkle. "They really kept them in line."

One of the biggest changes in budget came from the statehouse. A new gas tax formula passed by the last session of the Indiana General Assembly resulted in $540,000 in additional funding for the County Highway Department. Officials say they intend to use that money for matching funds on the project to expand CR 900E.

"The knowledge of those officials about their offices is important," added Myers. "They submitted good plans."

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