Due to investment returns falling flat in recent months, incoming revenue has become limited in a few funds, creating the need to make major cuts.
For the E-911 Fund, approximately $120,000 needed to be cut so the office could afford its budget, of which $50,000 was quickly taken care of by reducing the proposed operating balance to start 2010 from $100,000 in half to $50,000.
The council was able to reduce another $50,000 from the fund by deciding to pay the majority of the budgeted $60,000 for health insurance from E-911 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) funding.
While the council will not make a formal decision regarding a potential salary freeze until today, it was exactly what E-911 Coordinator John Turner proposed to help cut a portion of the remaining $20,000, along with minor reductions in requests for equipment maintenance and repair.
Although the council was able to determine ways to get the E-911 Fund out of potential danger, the Highway budget had a much bigger hole to dig out of.
Also because of a lack of generated income, the Highway Department had slowly dwindled its operating balance in recent years, and had to cut nearly half-a-million dollars to stay within its proposed 2010 budget.
Clay County Highway Superintendent Pete Foster met with the Clay County Commissioners Tuesday night and again Wednesday morning to determine the most effective way to make cuts while limiting the reduction in staffing and services.
"It's going to hurt, but if we have to do it, it will have to be done," Commissioner Paul Sinders told the council.
Along with eliminating requested salary raises, Foster and the commissioners determined 10 other areas within the budget to make cuts.
Some of the highlights of the cuts included:
* Saving $300,000 by eliminating the entire appropriation request for new equipment for 2010,
* Made a correction in the PERF allocation of $70,000, and
* Agreeing not to fill two open positions at the Highway Department, which created a savings of $58,896.
In total, $467,546 in budget cuts were made to the Highway Fund budget.
Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger also played a major role in keeping the Prosecutor's Deferral Fund up and running.
He explained the Deferral Fund may not have been generating as much income as in the past due to a temporary lack of officers patrolling the roads, reducing the ability to write citations.
"There was one point earlier in the year where the number of Indiana State Police officers on patrol in Clay County went from six down to two," Reberger said. "However, ISP staffing has brought that number back up and there may be as many as seven on the road by December, which will help increase the potential for more deferrals."
Reberger also informed the council he will be requesting a total reduction of $24,500 in this year's budget during their next regular monthly meeting, but also sliced $15,000 out of the 2010 deferral budget.
"We have extra in our budget this year that we most likely will not need," he said. "Why ask to spend it when we can live without it."
While the cuts made in these three funds helped create more stability, it did not move the county closer to cutting approximately $1.4 million in levy funds as they are not funded by property taxes.
The council will conduct a second review of all the budgets for additional cuts that may be made, along with considering salary and staffing options during the final day of budget hearings today.
Clay County Council President Mike McCullough told The Brazil Times the current cuts are tentative, as the council has not officially passed any of the individual budgets.
"We have a lot more to review and even when we pass the current cuts, changes may still be made until the budgets are up for final approval in October," McCullough said.
The final day of county budget hearings begin at 9 a.m., Thursday, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.