Porter County Council listens to budget requests
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent March 27, 2013 3:48PM
Updated: May 1, 2013 2:04PM
VALPARAISO — Line by line, the Porter County Council spent much of its meeting last week fulfilling — though not completely — funding requests from the Board of Commissioners.
The requests, totaling almost $8.1 million, were for county economic development income tax, or CEDIT, funds.
Council members have said they want better accounting of how commissioners spend that money, and they got it, though the matter was complicated by state-mandated changes earlier this year in how the county’s many funds are divvied up.
The council reappropriated some funds from last year, and went through fresh appropriations for this year. There were some snags, as many of the funding requests were for consultants because Commissioners President John Evans, R-North, said under the new accounting system, there is no category for contractors.
Noting that the new system is like “putting square pegs in round holes,” Evans said commissioners made the requests so they can move money around as needed.
“All we want to do is continue CEDIT projects so we can pay people and move forward,” Evans said.
But council members wanted more details and had the commissioners prioritize projects for some of the funding. The council cut back some requests, including advertising for the animal shelter, and voted against others completely, like a $25,000 request for advertising.
From drainage projects to basic building maintenance, everything got a look-over.
“What are the priority projects?” Councilman Dan Whitten, D-At-large, said as council members tried to get a better grip on how the CEDIT money would be spent before they allocated it.
That, too, wasn’t easy, as Evans and fellow commissioners Nancy Adams, R-Center, and Laura Blaney, D-South, said they need funds at the ready in case of an emergency.
“It’s difficult to say what building we’re going to have to put a roof on, or what air conditioner is going to go out,” Evans said.