Some is better than
none for Porter County Auditor Robert Wichlinski who was denied spending the
full $129,000 he requested to pay for numerous contractual services out of
his non-reverting fund by a majority of the County Council.
He was however
allowed $75,000 to pay bills due on the Pictometry aerial photography that
is used in his office, the assessorís and other county departments. A small
portion of that money can be used for legal counsel during Property Tax
Assessment Board of Appeals hearings, or for continuing the crackdown on
homestead credit violators.
If Wichlinski wants
more money, he can come back to ask the Council for it, Council member
Robert Poparad, D-at large, said.
comfortable with that,Ē Wichlinski said.
Bills to Pictometry
added up to roughly $69,000. The company has been paid routinely over the
years through the auditorís non-reverting fund, and the funds then recouped
from the tax credit violaters.
The Council last
month had tabled Wichlinskiís request as he said then that much of the
expense was for services to the County Assessor.
Assessor Jon Snyder
said he wasnít sure of what expenses needed pay but did acknowledge the help
Pictometry is to his office, as it is used daily.
The imaging system
is used by the GIS department and other departments which use maps,
Wichlinski said. ďItís becoming indispensable. Itís an important part of our
But Popard along
with Council President Dan Whitten, D-at large, Vice-President Karen
Conover, R-3rd, and member Sylvia Graham, D-at large, raised questions about
the volume of money going out to consultants from the non-reverting fund.
Poparad said he didnít think the auditorís office needed an attorney all the
time for the PTABOA hearings.
Those four members
along with Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, denied Wichlinskiís full request with Jim
Biggs, R-1st, and Jim Polarek, R-4th casting yes votes.
All seven members
did say yes to the reduced amount of $75,000.
Wichlinski said the
total quality management program which is run out of the non-reverting fund
has brought in $1.6 million in revenues.
After the meeting,
Wichlinskiís political opponent in the upcoming election race for County
Auditor, Vicki Urbanik, gave members of the press statements saying while
other department heads are not coming to the Council for additional
appropriations Wichlinski has asked for more money to pay consultants while
deferring payment on the Pictometry bill.
Urbanik, who is
also the County Councilís budget and financial specialist, said in a
prepared statement, ďThe County Council has done a good job this year of
forcing general fund departments to stay within their budgets. It is time
for this runaway spending in this non-reverting fund to come to an end.Ē
Urbanik is running
as a Democrat against Wichlinski, a Republican.