After failing to reach a quorum at their last meeting, the Starke County Council last night met once again before the end of the year to wrap up end-of-year business. Council President David Pearman passed out a spreadsheet detailing county budgets and line items with what the council expected to be leftover funds at the end of the year – funds which, if nothing is done with, would disappear.
Pearman said that in order to avoid losing those funds, the council approved a motion to transfer $192,700 into the Rainy Day Fund from a variety of line items. Auditor Kay Chaffins worked with Pearman in developing the list of funds with extra money.
“Essentially what we did is look at all the different line items, because basically a budget within the county government is like a forecast. And so we asked all of our office holders and supervisors – obviously we try to have them keep things as lean as possible, and they’ve done a great job – and on certain lines, they didn’t have unforeseen things happen. They had some expenditures that didn’t have to take place. We were able to move almost $200,000 into our Rainy Day Fund,” said Pearman.
Pearman said some of the funds came from the EMS budget, as the council had planned to expand that program in 2012. Unfortunately, they were unable to purchase the new ambulance before the end of the year. Rather than lose that money, however, Pearman said they would move that money to the Rainy Day Fund and earmark it for the purchase of a new ambulance.
“Really excited about this council that we have, because this is sort of setting a precedent; this hasn’t happened in years. This is how other counties – with the frozen levy, with unfortunately not as much new revenue coming to the county through other job creation and things like that – this is one way where we can put some money and earmark some money back for the county to have things that may arise: police cars, ambulances, roofs, other things that may come about,” said Pearman.
Fortunately, if their predictions are wrong, it’s not the end of the world; the money can still be retrieved from the Rainy Day Fund and used for its original purpose. This, Pearman said, is just a sure-fire way to retain some funds rather than let them vanish.