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Putnam County commissioners see silver lining in 2013 budget PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, January 09, 2013 1:59 PM

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OTTAWA — Putnam County Commissioner Vince Schroeder is quite optimistic about the county’s fiscal shape. As a matter of fact, due to sound monetary management, there have been conversations hinting at lowering taxes in the future.

In recent years, county employees took a 15-percent pay cut and sales tax revenues were appended by the .025 percent (25 cents per $100) tax increase, which runs out this year.

“A leaner budget and increased sales tax led to successfully paying off our long-term debt,” Schroeder proudly explained. “We’ll see if we need to renew that tax on sales.“

The county’s credit rating, or municipal bond rating, has met the criteria to achieve an AA level, which means the county demonstrates a very strong creditworthiness relative to other U.S. municipal or tax-exempt issuers or issues, and Schroeder fully expects to accomplish a higher rating in the next two years.

In addition, the county is in the process of establishing a Rainy Day Fund to cover expenses that would be incurred to buy a letter of credit, which costs $1.7 million and would serve as a form of payment for the EPA if any issues arise with the county’s landfill.

The total budget for Putnam County is $9.1 million and 60 percent of that is allocated for the Public Safety Fund, which includes the Sheriff’s Office, the Office of Public Safety, Job and Family Services and the County Engineer, in charge of road maintenance. The county does pay for Public Defenders, which is difficult to budget for, and is reimbursed 30 percent of that cost from the state.

Although there has been a 50-percent reduction in local government funds between $200,000-$300,000 and a decrease in interest payments from over $1 million a few years ago to $150,000, this year, the county is poised to accrue $300,000 from state casino funds to help balance the bottom line.

 

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