WARSAW — The Kosciusko County Council met Thursday, May 12, to discuss grants, the wheel tax and “courtesy” funds.
Pertaining to the county wheel tax/surtax, a decision on whether to lower the wheel tax on trailers is required by July 1, so it can be enacted in 2017. The motion set before the council was whether to lower the registration cost of 3,000-5,000 pound trailers from $40 to $15; 7,000-9,000 pound trailers from $40 to $25; and anything above 9,000 to stay at $40.
Some in the county feel $40 is an unfair amount to ask of someone on a fixed income and who only uses the trailer once a year to dock a boat to a pier.
One citizen came forward and said she was for the keeping the tax as-is, arguing if a person on a fixed income can afford a boat, they can afford $40. Council member Larry Teghtmeyer amended the motion to only reduce the tax on trailers 3,000 pounds or below $15.
Lacking the required unanimous vote, the motion was tabled until the next meeting.
In the April 14, county council meeting, County Council President Robert Sanders said the state will give back funds the county has paid in taxes for the amount of $1.15 million as a “one-time courtesy.” The stipulation given was, 75 percent must be used for road maintenance while the other 25 percent can be used as the town sees fit.
Sanders said the county has received the money and the decision now was whether to use the 25 percent immediately or put it into a rainy day fund, which could possibly be allocated for road repair at a later date. “That 25 percent, if we put it into a rainy day fund and we get to a point where we need more funds, for our roads, we could pull it out and use it. It doesn’t have to be, and is not excluded, from being used on roads,” Sanders said.
The 75 percent targeted for road repair cannot be used for anything else. Sanders asked the council if they wanted to put it into a special distribution fund or in the rainy day fund for later road repair. Sanders offered, “A special distribution fund attached to it if we want to use it and put it into a rainy day fund, as such, called a special distribution fund for roads we can do so and get into it at any time in the future to use it as we need it.”
Sanders finished by saying, “So, in a nutshell, as I see it, we have all 100 percent of it to use as long as we do it in a fashion as I stated; we put 75 percent in that special distribution fund for the roads and we take the 25 percent and put that into the rainy day fund and we sit back and wait until such time as we need to use it.”
Teghtmeyer mentioned a previous occurrence when the state had given back funds but overpaid the county, which the county had to pay back over five years. Tehgtmeyer and the rest of the council agreed to put the funds into a special distribution fund and rainy day fund.
County Auditor Michelle Puckett presented the amounts for the fire district grant II. Puckett stated it is a reimbursable grant, so it has to be appropriated by the council. The grant was approved as follows:
- Coordinator expenses – $2.378.50
- Training and seminars – $71,332.55
- Property maintenance – $5,300
- Property liability insurance – $12,000
- District live fire training – $9,804.64
- Grant management fee – $3,065.16
In other business:
- The DNR grant was approved for grant salaries at $12,500 and miscellaneous expenses at $2,500.
- Sheriff Aaron Rovenstine was reimbursed for the extradition fund for travel and mileage of $1,112.09.
- Rovenstine was also reimbursed $18,050.17 for a police car a citizen hit this winter.
- Rovenstine was given permission to hire a director for female work release.
- Kosciusko County Clerk Ann Torpy was given permission to replace an employee who left last week.