Chesterton Tribune

County Council urges rejection of 10 local government budgets

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Twenty-three municipalities submitting their proposed 2011 Budgets won the support of the Porter County Council on Monday at a public review.

For the third year in a row, the council has been asked by the state to give a non-binding recommendation for municipal budgets such as township trustees, cities and towns, conservancy districts, and redevelopment commissions.

The council ended up backing those budgets who stayed within the allowed limits of the 2.9 percent increase, or the current tax rate, of the approved budgets for 2010 and denied recommendation to those taxing units who overbudgeted.

“If you did your job, you got a favorable vote. If you didn’t, there could be extenuating circumstances but you (the taxing units) explain that to the state,” said County Council president Dan Whitten.

The budgets who met the council’s favor included Chesterton Civil Town at $15,661,979 ($15,946,742.28 allowed), West-chester Twp. Trustee at $301,445 ($310,186.91 allowed), Burns Harbor Civil Town at $2,429,314 ($2,526,907.07 allowed), West-chester Public Library at $3,023,673 ($3,023,673.28 allowed), and Indian Boundary Conservancy District at $111,460 ($111,469.51 allowed).

The council’s only binding budget was the West Porter Twp. Fire Protection District, which is also the county’s only fire protection district. It is contracted through the Lakes of the Four Seasons Fire Department.

The district was approved 7-0 by the council at a proposed figure of $105,220, only a shade less than what it was allowed, $105,229.51.

“The fact they got under is good,” said Whitten.

Ten budgets which went over and was not approved recommendation by the council, made up of mostly Duneland budgets, included Jackson Twp. Trustee proposed at $798,100 ($749,569.91 allowed), Liberty Twp. Trustee at $429,330 ($416,956.97 allowed), Beverly Shores Civil Town at $1,395,874 ($1,190,878.16 allowed), Dune Acres Civil Town at $557,748 ($398,540 allowed), Ogden Dunes Civil Town at $1,118,695 ($1,037,999.63 allowed), Pines Civil Town at $207,721 ($204,741 allowed), and Porter Civil Town at $4,612,195 ($4,396,943.75).

However, the budget with the largest discrepancy was the Damon Run Conservancy District, which budgeted 2011 at $1,331,573 when the allowed amount was determined at $849,511.53, a difference of $482,061.47.

The state ultimately decides the final budgets for the municipalities and conservancy districts.

Both Valparaiso and Portage also stayed well within their parameters. Valpo budgeted $25,622,413 ($26,026,809.82 allowed) and Portage slated $21,946,413 ($23,708,574.69 allowed) for its 2011 budget.

The council will meet later this week on Thursday to continue their county 2011 budget work at the Porter County Administration Building.



 Posted 10/5/2010