Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

April 1, 2014

Ripley County has $17.96 million budget

When preparing county budgets, “the challenge every year is to match revenues and expenditures,” reports Ed Armbrecht, Ripley County Council Budget Committee member.

The committee consists of five members: three from county council, President Dephane Smith, Bill McDonald and Armbrecht; commissioner Robert Reiners; and auditor Bill Wagner.

“The finance committee does not make any decisions concerning the budgets. They only present recommendations to the council (members who) review the recommendations and generally set the parameters for the elected officials and department heads in the preparation of their budgets .... (Members) usually request written explanations for any items exceeding their recommendations,” Armbrecht notes.

This year’s budget is $17.96 million, up $2.59 million from 2013. “Although there were many budget items that made up this increase, the material items .... (were): new funds for 2014 which did not exist in 2013, $903,200; increase in secure detention costs, $100,000; election expense, $80,000; employee benefits and payroll costs, $181,954; increase in county highway funding, $675,770; and capital improvements, $400,184.”

Reasons for the added dollar amounts are higher costs for providing secure detentions for juveniles, increased highway funding from the state, increase in health insurance and Public Employees Retirement Fund costs, needed repairs for the courthouse and jail and this year’s election costs, he reveals.

“The approved tax levy, the maximum amount of property taxes a unit of government can collect, for the county during 2013 was $3.44 million. For 2014, that amount is $3.52 million, an authorized increase of $79,925 or 2.3 percent. These amounts only represent the county and do not include any city or town, township or school corporation property taxes.

“In addition, shifts in property assessment from one classification to another and tax caps will also determine the amount of property taxes billed. For example, the Indiana Department of Local Governmental Finance has established the value of farmland at $1,760 per acre for taxes payable in 2014 compared to $1,630 per acre for taxes payable in 2013, a 7.9 percent increase in assessed value. This will result in a shift of property taxes from homes, business and rental property to farmland.”

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