Councilmen question additional appropriations

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‘Why not provide what will be needed up front?’ they ask

Managing Editor

TELL CITY – Members of the county council questioned once again why county departments needed additional appropriations to cover their expenses.

Councilmen Ron Crawford Sr. and Stan Goffinet have asked at recent meetings why budgets aren’t planned to more closely match expenses, and did so again at their regular meeting Nov. 20. In the latest case, the county’s health department needed a $3,000 additional appropriation to cover travel expenses. Steve Goodson ran the meeting in the absence of Alan Cassidy, council president.

“I know they make a lot of trips … to the (family-practice clinic at Indiana 37 and French Ridge Road) and I know Jermie gets called out quite a bit,” Goodson said, referring to County Sanitarian-Environmentalist Jermie Farmer. “I know travel is up.”

“We talked about this at our budget session,” Crawford said. “Why is this an additional appropriation? Wasn’t there something in the original budget for this travel?” He directed his questions to County Auditor Connie Berger.

“Their original budget, which you approved for this year, was $3,553,” she replied. “At the current time, they’re in the red $2,068 for travel. It’s for at least four employees’ travel. For next year’s budget, you did bump it up approximately $500.”

Why the Red?

“You said they’re in the red,” Goffinet told Berger. “Shouldn’t they come before us before they actually get in the red, to ask for more money?”

“… as long as they have it in the overall ‘other services and charges’ (portion of their budget), they would be fine,” Berger said. “But several of their other line items within there are also running in the red, and if they have any large claims, it’s not going to cover all of that for this year.”

“I have a little problem spending money, and then coming to us when they’re already in the red,” Goffinet said. He could understand an emergency arising, he continued, “but they should foresee that and come to us beforehand.”

Berger said she didn’t notify anyone from the department to be at the meeting. Councilman Chet Mathena suggested “next year we might want to look at that and add even more.”

Smart From the Start

“That’s why we discussed that during our budget session,” Crawford said. “We didn’t do it right. If we had known this, we could have adjusted the budget because the same thing’s going to happen next year. There’s going to be an additional appropriation, and one of these days, we’re not going to have anything for additional appropriations. That’s the point.”

“Last year, they spent right at $5,000,” Berger said in response to a question from Goodson. The auditor was unable to say how the amount of travel compared between years.

Goffinet noted that the budget-planning session for next year happened only a month and a half earlier and said, “we need to take this under consideration the next time.”

Goffinet offered a motion to approve the additional appropriation, which carried 6-0.

Upcoming Appointments

Berger said she provided a list of appointments she hopes the council will make at their Dec. 13 meeting. They include a one-year term on the alcoholic-beverage board, “which anyone can send a letter of interest in on,” she said.

The Perry County Library Board will start anew Jan. 1 following a merger this year of separate facilities in Cannelton and Tell City. The county council will accept letters for two appointments, one of which will initially be a one-year term and the other a three-year term, Berger said.

The county’s zoning-appeals board has a four-year term to which the council must appoint someone, she also said.

Two appointments, one to the Indiana 15 Regional Planning commission and the other to the county plan commission, must be council members, Berger continued.

Current appointments are Cassidy and Goodson, respectively.