By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — Kosciusko County Assessor Susan Engelberth was present at the county council meeting on Thursday, Sept. 10, to discuss purchasing a vehicle for the assessor’s office.
In her conversation with council members, Engelberth provided statistics on how many field visits the department typically does. The department also visits all 72 mobile home parks in the county. The county’s assessor’s office is responsible for assessing all real and personal property within Kosciusko County.
According to Engelberth, the department is currently using rental vehicles for site visits.
“Between the years of 2015 and 2019, we have spent almost $32,000 of taxpayers’ dollars for rentals,” said Engelberth. “I have four teams. At times, we need to have more than one vehicle, especially in the fall.”
Engelberth noted that her department only wants one additional vehicle and said other county departments that also do site visits have multiple vehicles. She said she was considering purchasing a Jeep.
County council took the matter under advisement to wait for the county commissioners to approve the assessor’s department getting a new vehicle.
In other business, County Auditor Michelle Puckett presented council members with the latest budget numbers following a budget meeting on Aug. 17. Currently, the county general budget for 2021 stands at $27,001,523, with total revenues estimated at $20,399,640. As of now, there is approximately a $7 million gap between revenue and expenses.
“If we leave things as is, that’s going to leave us with an ending operating balance of $2.8 million,” said Puckett.
Council President Jon Garber suggested the council put together a committee of three council members to look at other possibilities for budget cuts and potential revenues. Garber recommended Council members Sue Ann Mitchell, Ernie Wiggins and Joni Truex serve on the committee and work with Puckett on the county’s budget.
The council approved the idea of establishing the committee and will hold a special meeting on Oct. 1 to discuss the committee’s proposals.
The following was also approved at the meeting:
- Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Shane Bucher received approval to continue with the Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) grant request in the amount of $10,000. The goal with the SAVE grant is to ensure safe transportation routes to and from school, with the program promoting collaboration between law enforcement, school corporations and bus drivers.
- The Kosciusko County Solid Waste District’s proposed budget was approved and will be adopted at the county council’s regular October meeting.
- The appointment of Julie Dijkstra to the Nappanee Library Board was approved.
- Puckett presented the following budget reduction ordinances before the council, which were all approved: county general, $415,195; community corrections, $14,700; health department, $6,183; highway department, $4,605; Superior 2 and 3 courts, pauper council – $40,000; Superior 2 and 3 courts, mediation fees – $3,000; surveyor – $1,500; assessor reassessment – $40,928; probation – $8,500; auditor – $3,500.
County council’s next regular meeting is at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. Both meetings will be held in the Kosciusko County Justice Building multipurpose room.