Porter Co. hires new firm to handle documents needed for federal funds
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent March 20, 2014 8:12PM
Updated: April 22, 2014 6:12AM
VALPARAISO — A new contractor has been put in place to do the necessary documentation for Porter County to receive federal reimbursement for its child support court.
The change came after a previous contractor broke off with the county last week because he couldn’t get information he needed from the Auditor’s office.
The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted to hire Dosett Consulting of Indianapolis to handle the cost allocation plan, which must be submitted to the Indiana Department of Child Services for the county to receive its federal dollars. The three-year contract is for $9,000 a year.
The plan is required for reimbursement of federal funds, Vicki Urbanik, the County Council’s budget and finance specialist, said.
In addition to reimbursement dollars for the Clerk’s Office, the Prosecutor’s Office, and the IV-D Court, money also comes back to the county’s general fund for indirect expenses. The county is reimbursed for the funds quarterly.
“We need as much missed revenue as possible,” said Urbanik, who added after the meeting the reimbursement totaled $725,000 for the general fund last year, including about $100,000 for indirect expenses. The county’s general fund is expected to see a $5 million shortfall this year.
For the past seven years, the cost allocation plan had been done by Malcon, out of Carmel, but company president Charles Malinowski sent commissioners a letter last week saying he was terminating their contract “due to unresponsive data request issues within the direct control of the Porter County Auditor’s Office.”
“This is a terrible state of things, if you ask me, and there’s really no excuse for it,” said Commissioners President John Evans, R-North.
Auditor Bob Wichlinski said last week that he spoke with Malinowski and believed the matter was resolved, and that Malinowski had been leaving messages with one of the employees in the office who was recently let go.
There is an April 1 deadline to get the cost allocation plan in to the state, county attorney Elizabeth Knight said. She has asked for that deadline to be extended until late April if need be.
In related news, commissioners voted 3-0 to move the county’s geographic information system, or GIS, out of the Auditor’s Office and into the plan commission.
Evans said the GIS department has its own budget and can function more easily out of the plan commission.
“I feel it’s truly underutilized in its current location,” Evans said, adding he wanted the public to have more access to the system.