The Whitley County Commissioners’ regularly scheduled business meeting on Monday, Nov. 19, saw the commissioners getting a glimpse at what to expect in 2019.
Whitley County Auditor Jana Schinbeckler informed the commissioners that the county had received its 1782 notice, determining the county’s general fund budget for 2019. Schinbeckler noted that the original figure of $11,125,507 was reduced to $11,026.278. The final budget number was the figure they would actually need, according to Schinbeckler, who explained that it is common practice to request a higher budget to account for almost guaranteed reductions.
The county will also receive $650,000 from the state’s Community Crossings program, according to County Engineer Brandon Forrester, which is $350,000 off from the original request.
“We had asked for the full million, so we’re going to have to make cutbacks on our projects,” Forrester said. “But we’re going to do what we can and try to make as big an impact with that money.”
Ahead of the 2019 budget, which includes $3,220,241 for the highway department, Forrester presented the commissioners with quotes for two one-ton trucks for highway department use. The two trucks would cost $45,650.50 and $43,750, respectively. He also requested permission to get ahead of the game by placing an order for these vehicles as soon as possible.
“We had in our budget, our equipment plan, to purchase a single axel dump truck — we’re working on the specs on that — and two one-ton trucks,” Forrester said. “In anticipation of next year’s coming budget and the time it takes to actually get what you order…we would like to put the order in now.”
The commissioners approved this purchase 3-0.
Forrester also told the commissioners that following this year’s bridge inspections, there are three bridges that will need to essentially be replaced. Plans and preliminary work has already been done on one of the bridges, Forrester said, and he requested “verbal” approval from the board that the department was clear to continue forward on these projects. A formal presentation outlining the plans and schedules for the bridge work are expected at the commissioners’ Dec. 3 meeting.
Forrester’s request was granted by a 3-0 vote.
Attorney Matt Shipman advised the commissioners that the Whitley County Plan Commission had agreed to the revisions it made to the confined feeding ordinance, thus putting it into immediate effect. The commissioners then signed the final draft of the ordinance.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Commissioner George Schrumpf addressed jail overcrowding, assuring the public that even if an item is not on the agenda, it still remains a point of focus.
“Going forward, I think we’ve got some good plans on that, which we will let people know after the first of the year or within the first six months of the year,” Schrumpf said.