Porter County Government is expected to lose $2.008 million in property tax money, according to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance annual report of tax cap impacts released last week for 2014.
The General Fund, which is supported chiefly by property tax, is expected to see the sharpest loss, $1.87 million. Other budgets affected are 2015 reassessment, cumulative bridge, jail lease rental, and the cumulative capital development funds.
The total loss was higher in 2013 at $2.048 million, but that is because the health department fund was included then as an additional item. The hit to the General Fund last year was $1.6 million, a difference of about $270,000.
The County Council has already been advised it will need to close a $5 million gap in the budget for this year and an $8 million hole for next.
The County’s budget specialist Vicki Urbanik told the Council in an email that the General Fund budget at this fall’s budget hearings will “be very tight” starting out “with no real room” for increased appropriations. The budget’s certified levy stands at $32.3 million, but $35.8 million is the total for the adjusted budgets.
Urbanik said the budget is also set to absorb various costs that have not been appropriated such as the sheriff’ pension expenses of nearly $840,000. She said miscellaneous revenues not part of the General Fund will need to come in higher by at least $100,000 depending on how much the spring and fall property tax draws bring in. Revenues are up this year compared to last “which may be a good sign,” Urbanik said.
But what may be the biggest challenge for the Council this year is to come up with funds to balance the County health insurance plan. The shortfall began at $2.5 with the 2014 adopted budget last fall and worsened by $2.8 million when the state made its cuts, Urbanik said.