Additional distribution will be sent to the County General Fund –

By David Slone
Times Union

WARSAW — Kosciusko County Auditor Michelle Puckett gave the county council some “very, very exciting news” Thursday night, as she called it.

She said she received an email on Thursday afternoon, May 12, from the Indiana Local Government Department of Finance about the distribution of additional revenue for this year.

“So in total, we are going to receive an additional distribution from our COIT (County Option Income Tax) funds of $601,122. Of this, the portion that belongs to Kosciusko County will be $219,669. And since these are not COIT dollars, these COIT funds are stored within the county general, which will help support our cash balance in our county general fund,” Puckett said.

In the EDIT (Economic Development Income Tax) fund, the total amount of the additional distribution is $257,624. The county’s share is $160,208.

Puckett said they expect to receive the deposit within the next week “and we need to have it rotated and distributed to other (tax) units by June 1.”

Councilman Jon Garber asked how the additional income this year compared to past years.

“It’s a little less than in previous years, which means that their estimates are a little more refined at the Ministry of Revenue. And, of course, it’s still a guessing game as to when they collect versus the when they distribute and calculate returns and everything on our income, but it’s always a good thing when we see an additional distribution because it’s much better than when they distribute too much and we have to give it back, ”said Puckett .
She said it was a “happy” thing, especially just before budget time.

After the board meeting, Puckett explained what extra income is.

“Every year we pay our income taxes to the state and then we file our returns. Sometimes you collect money, sometimes you don’t, but the money that they collect for us from our paychecks that they hold in the state, they then have a calculation – and it’s based on population and assessed value – to distribute those dollars to cities and towns,” she said.

“A lot of that is on estimates because once we get the distribution they keep collecting, so it’s based on estimates.”

Puckett said the state generally likes to collect and retain 15% above the estimate.

“And then if that bucket that they’re keeping that has 15% overage goes up, to 18%, they’ll release the 3%. So that’s 3% that we’ll be distributing this week to (other fiscal units)” , she said.

In other matters, the Board approved:

• A request by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office to apply for a COPS hiring grant from the US Department of Justice for $250,000.
Chief Deputy Shane Bucher said it was a federal reimbursement grant and would allow the KCSO to help mitigate the cost of hiring new deputies. The grant, if awarded, will cover up to 75% of base salary and benefits for each approved position for the three-year funding period. The county should cover 25%. The maximum amount allowed per officer is $125,000 over the three-year period, and then the county will have to cover the full amount for the fourth year for that officer.
Council President Sue Ann Mitchell said that currently a junior assistant earns $52,853 a year.
County commissioners approved the grant application at their meeting on Tuesday.
• A request from KCSO to apply for a Kosciusko REMC Operation Round-Up grant for $4,986 to purchase two dry suits for the dive team.
• Approval of three additional credits for three grants awarded to KCSO. They include $12,500 for the Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) Hoosier Highway Comprehensive Injury Reduction Program (CHHIRP); $16,000 for Indiana Local Body Camera Grant; and $4,900 for the Small, Rural, Tribal (SRT) Body Worn Camera Grant.
• A transfer of $41,500 from motor vehicle repair maintenance, as requested by Bucher, to offset the costs of KCSO’s new car builds.
Council approved the application by a vote of 4 to 1, Councilor Mike Long opposing it.
• Two amendments to the wages ordinance for the Kosciusko County Highway Department to increase the hourly wage for a part-time truck driver to $17.44 and for part-time mowers to $15, $63, as requested by Kosciusko County Highways Department Superintendent Steve Moriarty.
• An additional credit of $150,000 to the General and Undistributed Motor Vehicle Road Fund for KCHD garage supplies. Moriarty said there was a need for supplies and parts due to rising costs due to inflation and the economy. “We’re going through a tough time,” Moriarty said. “We have enough to get through the summer”, but in the fall there will be worries.
• An additional credit of $264,738 to the MVH maintenance and repair fund in the bituminous account, as requested by Moriarty. He said $250,000 of the amount came from closing a railroad crossing, so he wants to use that money to put it on the roads. The remaining $14,738 comes from local options income tax (LOIT) from past years.
• Request from Emergency Management Agency Director Ed Rock to apply for a grant of up to $150,000 to the state’s 2022 Homeland Security Program, which will likely go to cybersecurity.
• An amendment to the wages order for the Veterans Service Officer – Darryl McDowell – which will add eight hours a week to his position at $20.08 an hour, as requested by McSherry. She said McDowell “really stood out in the community,” so it would be more beneficial to veterans if he had more hours.
Mitchell said she heard great things about him. McSherry said it’s a blessing the county has someone in the position who does what he does to serve veterans. “He has a passion for it,” McSherry said.
• A salary order for systems administration, as requested by McSherry. The order allows the hiring of an assistant system administrator for $66,066 per year if the person hired meets the guidelines for that salary.
• The reappointment of Jennifer Hicks to the Board of Directors of the Warsaw Community Public Library for a further four-year term, which will expire on June 30, 2026.


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