Floyd County Council passes budget with $2.9 million shortfall - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Floyd County Council passes budget that leaves $2.9 million shortfall

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NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- The cost of two high-profile murder cases, the erosion of property tax revenue and the purchase of a new government center are only a few reasons elected leaders here say Floyd County faces a $3.6 million budget shortfall.

Tuesday night, the Floyd County Council passed a budget that pared down that deficit, but didn't erase it.

After adopting a budget, the county is now facing a $2.9 million shortfall that council members say will force the county to revisit the budget in February when state assessors will likely demand the books are shored up.

The budget adopted during Tuesday night's council meeting called for a 25 percent cut across the board on selective services -- including things like office supplies, travel expenses and books for county offices.

"This can is going to get kicked down the road and we're going to be sitting here in March talking about the same issue," said Council President John Schellenberger.

County employees, who attended the meeting, are upset with the lack of clarity on what areas are being cut. The contingent of workers also reminded the council they haven't had a raise in several years and are frustrated with the process.

"It might be a public meeting but it didn't make a lot of public sense," said county employee Cheryl Mills. "So where you have a general fund to work with, we are the worker bees who put that there for you." 

David Camm's acquittal on triple murder charges, his two previous trials and appeals have cost this county $4.5 million.

The murder trials for William Clyde Gibson have only added to that, close to $450,000 so far. (Gibson was convicted of the murder of Christine Whitis and sentenced to death Tuesday. He still faces two other murder trials).

The budget passed reduces the county's shortfall from $3.6 million to $2.9 million, meaning state assessors with Indiana's Department of Local Government Finance will likely be back in February with demands to shore up the rest, which could lead to deeper cuts.

"So at that point, be ready, because I don't know where we are going to get $2.9 million," said another council member, Jim Wathen. 

Still some county employees left the meeting without a clear indication of what areas are being cut.

"There's not clarity with the county council, there hasn't been and until there is, I'm going to be back at every meeting," Mills said.

The council president says the council ran out of ideas and time with an October 31st deadline.

"At some point you have to realize there is not a good option and you have to do what you have to do," he said.

Schellenberger is still hopeful that a committee formed might be able to raise money from the county by selling off some of its assets.

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