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December 5, 2012

St. Joseph County Commissioners adopt 2013 Budget

St. Joseph County Courthouse

The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners has adopted the county’s 2013 Budget.

The action came on a 6-to-nothing vote Tuesday (December 4).  Commissioner Don Eaton was absent.

Adoption of the budget came after action on two amendments proposed by Commissioner John Dobberteen – one to exclude Nottawa Park from the budget, the other to hold the appropriation to the St. Joseph County Conservation District until the issue of soil erosion permit revenue from the district is resolved.  As noted in minutes from the Executive Committee meeting last Friday (November 30), “The parties need to reach an agreement on how much of the permit money collected by the Conservation District should be transferred to the County to manage the remaining responsibilities of the open permits transferred to the Drain office in June.  . . .  Ideally the funds will be transferred prior to the end of the year to be reflected in the year in which they were collected and the work was done.”  Commissioner Jerry Ware voted ‘no’ on the amendment regarding exclusion of Nottawa Park from the budget.  The other amendment was approved on a 6-to-nothing vote.

(Click on image to enlarge)

As noted in a memo from County Administrator Judy West, the final budget for 2013 “reflects a grand total budget for the General Fund and all other funds of $28,819,572 – a decrease of $783,585 from the 2012 total budget.  The decrease comes from the Road Commission budget, with other Funds increasing.”

Regarding the General Fund, the memo says “The projected 2013 operating expenditures and revenues are $15,152,227.  This is an increase of $543,864 from the 2012 final budget.  Use of fund balance is budgeted at $923,618 ($461,000 was budgeted in 2012).”

The St. Joseph County 2013 General Appropriations Act resolution associated with the budget adoption notes that “the 2013 Budget is based on the intent of the Board of Commissioners to levy property tax millages as follows:  County Operating 4.5482 (in July 2013), 9-1-1 .50, Commission on Aging .75, and County Road .9932.”

Regarding the budget process, the memo notes that “the Board met on two occasions in advance of releasing the tentative budget primarily because the requests exceeded revenues by $2 million.  On November 16th the Board met again to review appeals from managers and agencies.  Changes were made to the tentative budget and those changes have been included in the final budget.”

To view the budget memo from Judy West-Wing – with additional information about the budget – click on the following link:  2013 Final Budget – Judy West Wing memo.

FOOTNOTE:  Regarding the hold on the Conservation District appropriation, County Administrator Judy West-Wing reports that – after Tuesday’s meeting adjourned – “the Board of Commissioners met with John Nelson and Carol Higgins from the Conservation District Board to resolve the dispute on how much soil erosion permit revenue the Conservation District should turn over to the County to manage the open soil erosion permits that were taken over by the Drain Office staff in June 2012.  Jen Miller from the Conservation District and Jeff Wenzel had earlier agreed that a fair amount was $40K and the Conservation District Board only wanted to give $22K.  After discussion the Board of Commissioners agreed to accept the $22K and allow the Conservation District to keep the additional $17K to be used for their other expenses.”

Editor’s Note:  This post was expanded at 12:14 p.m. 12-5-12 to add the footnote regarding resolution of the soil erosion permit revenue dispute with the St. Joseph County Conservation District.


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