Chesterton Tribune



Citizens can speak on Porter County budget priorities Monday

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The Porter County Council will begin its yearly budget hearings starting next week with a first reading and public hearing on Monday at 5 p.m. inside Room 205 of the County Administration Building, 155 Indiana Ave. in Valparaiso.

First reading will include budgets for all departments in Porter County Government, including the General Fund which is the County’s main tax-levied fund, along with the Porter County Recycling and Waste District, the Porter County Airport Authority and the West Porter Township Fire District.

This will be the only time for public input on the budgets. The Council will begin second readings and overall reviews of budgets the following day on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

County Auditor Vicki Urbanik will give the Council the highlights of the proposed budgets for 2018 turned in by department heads. Urbanik told the Chesterton Tribune earlier this week that she estimates the General Fund will be levied at $39.5 million for 2018. That’s more than $1 million above what 2017’s levy was -- $38.2 million.

For all General Fund budgets, the overall total requested the Council will start with is $45,056,245, Urbanik said. The Council will likely work to whittle that figure down to the $39.5 million figure to not go over the tax levy.

All budgets in the general fund are advertised at 15 percent higher than what is requested so the County can receive the maximum amount of funds in the levy, said Urbanik. For instance, the General Fund’s advertised budget amount is $51.8 million.

All budgets under County Government Departments are advertised at a total of $105 million. A few of the major budgets outside of the General Fund include the Highway Department at $7.5 million, Local Income Tax Funds at $6 million, Stormwater Management User Fee at $4.5 million, the Jail Lease Rental at $3 million, the Cumulative Capital Development Fund at $2.7 million, the Emergency Telephone System at $2.5 million, the Hospital Interest fund at $2.4 million, the Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission at $2.2 million, the Health Department at $2.2 million and the Cumulative Bridge Fund at $2.1 million.

Notice of the advertised budgets can be found at the State’s Gateway System at The notice also states that the estimated property tax cap reductions would be $1.9 million.

Urbanik said that in the County’s general fund, there are 12 departments requesting special raises for next year, three of which are within the County Sheriff’s Police and Jail. There are four new full-time positions proposed in the General Fund, including new jailers and a public outreach coordinator for the County Animal Shelter, she said.

Other special requests include an allocation of $3 million requested by the Parks Department to develop Aukiki Park in Pleasant Twp. and $465,000 for ADA upgrades in other park properties. The County is also seeking $1 million for new Information Technology equipment.

Urbanik said that there will be a small reduction in the general fund for County employee health insurance, which is supported by a number of other funds.

The non-profit community groups Opportunity Enterprises, Family and Youth Services Bureau and the Porter County Council on Aging and Community Services also submitted requests for use of County Hospital sale interest funds again for 2018, Urbanik said.

Next week’s second readings

Meanwhile, the Council will begin second readings Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. with review of the following budgets:

Sheriff’s Police, Jail, Sheriff’s Garage, Federal/DOC Prisoners, Accidents, Community Corrections, Extradition Fund, Firearms, Inmate Healthcare Fund, Riverboat Fund, Sex Offender Fee, Sheriff Pension Fund, VIN Inspection, Continuing Ed, Civil Fee Fund, Drug Task Force, Charitable Donations, Overweight Vehicle Fund, Public Safety/Data Tech, Videotape Reproduction, Photo Fund, Inmate Processing Fees, SCAAP Grant, DEA Proceeds Grant, Sheriff Adult Community Corrections, Prosecutor, Prosecutor Deferral, Prosecutor Pre-Trial, Prosecutor IV-D, Domestic Violence Grant, Stop Grant, General IV-D Incentive and State/Local Grant 9114.

Then on Thursday, the Council will hold second readings at 5:30 p.m. on the following budgets:

Airport, Airport Cumulative Building, Opportunity Enterprises, Porter-Starke, Family and Youth Services Bureau, Porter County Aging & Community Services, Coroner, Weights & Measures, Veterans Services, Extension Office, Soil & Water, Treasurer, Recreation and Visitors Commission (Tourism Bureau), Assessor, Reassessment, Portage Assessor, Portage Reassessment, Recorder, Recorder Perpetuation, Recorder Redaction, ITS, ITS Print Shop, Auditor, GIS/Mapping, Auditor Non-Reverting Fund, Jail Lease/Rental, Health Department, Antabuse, Health Maintenance and Health Tobacco.


Posted 9/15/2017





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