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Friday, May 6, 2016

County funded by more than just property taxes

Sunday, July 6, 2008

It takes more than just property taxes in order for the county to continue to operate.

In Clay County, a total of 14 funds comprise the entire budget, which totals $10,735,926 for 2008.

The General Fund alone accounts for $5,868,730, or approximately 54.7 percent of the budget, while another $2,131,981 (19.9 percent) is set for the Highway Fund.

With the county's property tax levy set at a maximum of $3,202,192 this year, the county has to find other means to cover the remainder of the cost to keep all of the departments running healthy.

"We gather what we consider 'miscellaneous income' from a number of different sources," Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh said. "Some of our offices, like the Recorder's Office, assess fees for certain services."

However, the fees account for only a small portion of the miscellaneous income.

The County Adjusted Gross Income Tax (CAGIT), Commercial Vehicle Excise Tax (CVET), Financial Institutions Tax (FIT) and other excise taxes help bridge the gap between the property taxes the county receives and the total budget amount.

"There are a lot of other smaller areas where the county receives additional income as well," Alumbaugh said. "CAGIT is a fixed amount each year, but areas like the sale of county property, interest on county investments and the amount we receive for the care of prisoners vary each year."

While the General Fund covers the majority of the county's budget it does serve a major purpose.

Salaries for the majority of the county employees, including those at the Clay County Sheriff's Department, the Commissioners and Clay County Council, are paid for out of this fund. It also helps pay for the law books that the Clay Circuit and Superior Courts use to help build cases in order to make their judgments in criminal and civil cases.

There are some offices under county jurisdiction that do not have to be budgeted for.

Parts of the Health and Community Corrections departments receive state and federal funding, mainly through grants, which help pay for salaries and other things needed to maintain operations.

The fourth-largest fund for the county is the Cumulative Bridge Fund, which is mainly used by the Commissioners to replace outdated bridges. The Commissioners are currently waiting for money to be appropriated from the fund to pay for the costs of repairing levees that were damaged during the recent floods.

While residents are almost never in favor of their taxes going up, it is needed at times to keep the county running at the level they have been accustomed to.

"Everyone, including myself, would love to see taxes being cut," Alumbaugh said. "But sometimes a small raise in an individual's tax bill, even if it is $50 or $100, can help people working for the county keep their jobs. Whether it be a small or large tax cut, it would most likely mean we would have to let some people go because the county would not have the funds to keep all of the employees."

To view the budget order for Clay County and other government entities in the county, visit www.in.gov/dlgf/2612.htm.

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