Lake County panel still not ready to appropriate borrowed funds
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent May 14, 2013 9:26PM
Updated: June 16, 2013 6:25AM
CROWN POINT — Appropriations from a borrowing committee remain frozen despite the unexpected passage of a 1.5 percent Lake County income tax Friday.
Lake County Council on Tuesday deferred all department requests for additional revenue, a move that was decided on by officials Thursday during a council work session in anticipation of a commissioners’ veto of the tax.
The veto Friday did not occur after officials failed to second a motion to call a vote on the tax.
Collection of the income tax will not begin until October and the county will not receive its first disbursement until 2015. In 2015 the county will receive revenue from only three months of the income tax. While officials borrowed $20 million to make up for the budget shortfall this year, the county will still be facing an approximately $15 million deficit in 2014.
Officials are keeping tight reigns on the borrowed money until the scope of the two-year shortfall is fully identified.
Council President Pro-Tem Jerome Prince, D-Gary, said after the meeting that until county officials are able to get a solid grasp on what the actual deficit is, the “borrowing plan is not moving forward.”
Prince said officials have tapped Indiana University Northwest to work on a plan to achieve efficiencies in county government and they are awaiting that report.
Once the county is able to get a handle on the deficit as well as areas recommended by IUN for cuts, the council, commissioners and department heads will have to work together to determine what money truly is needed and where savings can be realized.