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Officials OK car purchase

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Auditor declares local tax rates add up to .0156

By KEVIN KOELLING
Managing Editor

TELL CITY – County-council members voted at a regular meeting Aug. 22 to authorize a $22,000 additional appropriation from the county’s riverboat revenue sharing fund to buy a new county vehicle.

The request was initiated by the county commissioners, and Commissioner Tom Hauser was present to explain it.

“The current county car is a 2005 Buick,” he said. It’s got 158,000 miles on it. It’s used by all departments of the county and scheduled through County Administrator Teresa Kanneberg, he added, turning to her to confirm it’s often booked solid.

“We’ve got a month coming up that it’s probably not available any day,” she said.

“Teresa did some figuring,” Hauser continued, “and we save about $5,000 a year over paying personal mileage.”

The car is becoming troublesome, and has had “some issues with the brakes,” he said, noting drivers add an average of more than 16,000 miles to the odometer each year. The $22,000 will more than cover the cost of a replacement.

“We’re looking at probably a four-door sedan, full-size car, like an Impala or a Toyota Camry or whatever the other manufacturers have got that size,” Hauser said. He added it’s cheaper to buy a new versus a used or program vehicle.

Compact car?

Smaller cars were considered, he said, but “most of the time, we’ve got two, three or four people going to Indianapolis, Lafayette or wherever, and a smaller car just won’t accommodate their needs.”

Councilman Stan Goffinet noted the Camry is available with a four-cylinder engine, but Hauser said discussions hadn’t gone that far yet.

“We’ll want to get something that’s efficient,” he said, adding a General Motors dealer in Fort Wayne offers a lower price based on sales under a state contract. Any money left from the $22,000 “we just won’t use,” the commissioner said.

The council had just authorized a $4,000 additional appropriation for travel by employees of the county’s health department, and Councilman Ron Crawford Sr. suggested giving them the Buick to use for their travel to and from the clinic near Leopold.

“I don’t know how good the vehicle is, but you’re going 15 miles and back … just food for thought,” he said.

The council’s vote was unanimous. They also approved an appropriation of $600,000 to resurface Gerald Road.

Tax rates

In other business, County Auditor Connie Berger announced local income-tax rates.

“Each year the state Department of Revenue requires the county to declare our county tax rates,” she said. They include an economic-development income tax, a county-option income tax and a “special rate that we have due to the legislation that was passed for the detention-center project,” she said, referring to the new county jail now under construction. The council voted early last year to impose the new tax. Its rate is .005 per $100 of assessed value. Added to the .005 county-option and .0056 economic-development income taxes, which have remained unchanged, Berger said, the total rate is .0156.