After a long and difficult process, the board is finally ready to
post a budget for display purposes for the next fiscal year. This
has proven to be especially difficult this year due to the issue of
Previously, the county had sold bonds in order to
pay for the development of infrastructure that would bring Sysco to
For the last two months, the board has been looking into selling
alternate revenue bonds to finance the criminal cases line item in
the upcoming budget.
The current bonds were among the final touches needed by the
finance committee in order to submit a budget for display.
However, since the selling of this type of bond does not require
a referendum, a 30-day petition period was established in order to
provide the public with the opportunity to send the bonds to the
Previously, because of the possibility of needing to go to
referendum for the bond issue, two budgets were drafted by the
The first budget, titled Plan A, included the bonds as part of
the criminal case line item. A figure of $700,000 was set at the
Oct. 11 board of whole meeting. That figure is subject to change as
the finance committee investigates just how much money they believe
will be needed for that line item next year.
The second budget, titled Plan B, included $600,000 in the same
line item. The difference is that the $600,000 would come out of tax
levies from the health department, the ambulance services, the
senior citizens tax and the Cooperative Extension program. As a
result, those operations would have been severely limited in
finances, which would result in layoffs and program terminations.
While a petition was taken out, the petition period ended on Oct.
25 with no petition turned in to the county offices. Because of this
development, finance chairman Chuck Ruben was able to make a motion
to the county board that Plan A be put on display for the next 30
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Before the budget could be voted on, Ruben elaborated on a change
that would occur before it is posted. The budget for the state's
attorney's office will be changed. The finance committee adjustment
of $47,000 would result in a reduction of staffing to bring in a
balanced budget for that office. It was therefore recommended by
Jonathan Wright that this number be changed to $25,000.
This change would also affect the new county budget as a whole.
"That does remove $22,000 from our budget. We had an $8,000 cushion.
We would now be $14,000 in the hole," Ruben said. He also said that
he believes there is a sufficient revenue cushion present from other
funds to make up for the imbalance. The change was unanimously
As for the actual vote on the posting of the budget Plan A, the
motion passed 11-1, with only Pat O'Neill opposing the proposed
There will be a change in the meeting date for the reconvened
board meeting in November. This is due to a scheduling conflict with
David Pistorius of First Midstate. First Midstate is the company
that will be selling the bonds on behalf of the county. Pistorius
needs to be present at the meeting in order to finalize the
paperwork. A tentative date was set for Nov. 29, but that may change
since it is the night of the holiday parade.
Board members present for the meeting were chairman Robert
Farmer, David Hepler, Terry Carlton, Andy Anderson, Rick Aylesworth,
Kevin Bateman, Bill Martin, Pat O'Neill, Gene Rohlfs, Chuck Ruben,
Andy Meister and Jan Schumacher.
[By DEREK HURLEY]