County budget growth allowed up to 4.7% for 2022 | Sun News

ALBION – Noble County and other local governments will have the opportunity to increase their annual budgets by one of the highest percentages on record as they begin planning their spending for 2022.

With Noble County Council set to begin its annual budgeting process next month, County Coordinator Jackie Knafel informed them they would have more leeway this year than most.

The state has released the annual growth quotient – a percentage set by the Indiana Local Government Department of Finance that dictates the maximum growth in government spending year-over-year – and the quotient for 2022 is 4.7%.

This is up from the 4.2% growth for 2021 and more than double what the rate was during some tight years after the Great Recession of 2008.

The growth quotient is a calculation the government uses to help keep total increases in government spending within reasonable limits based on past economic growth. The percentage is calculated from a running six-year average of non-farm income, so good economic times allow for greater growth in government spending.

Right now, the growth quotient calculation counts six solid years of strong economic times, leading to one of the biggest increases in recent history.

Knafel said the 4.7% is the “highest ever”.

With local governments able to increase their budgets by a greater margin, it is possible that the increase in spending will end up increasing local tax rates.

However, Noble County and many other counties have seen explosive growth in property values ​​as short stocks of land and residences have driven prices up sharply in recent years. With this strong growth in property values, tax rates could remain stable or even decline, as they did in 2021, when values ​​even exceeded the quotient of 4.2% in most cases.

The county council will meet at 8 a.m. on August 16 for a preparatory meeting as they kick off their multi-day budgeting process.

In other matters Tuesday, the Noble County Council:

• I heard from Highway Superintendent Richard Rogers that the county’s chip and seal program for 2021 is about halfway, even despite the rainy weather that has hit the area recently. Crack sealing work has also started in parts of the county as an inexpensive measure to help maintain the longevity of the road surface.

• Briefly discuss long-term options for securing bridge funding. The county does not have a dedicated bridging fund, instead using a portion of its cumulative capital development income for bridges each year. County engineer Zack Smith, who implemented an aggressive bridge maintenance program when he started work, said the county has made great strides in dealing with bridges needing repair or repair. structural replacement by leveraging available funds to secure larger federal grants, but in the long run it is predictable that the county will tap into its available dollars, so he suggested that council consider a more sustainable long-term source of funding. .

• Signing of a letter of support for another request for a grant of $ 500,000 for community crossings. Smith had submitted two $ 500,000 packages to the state this year for the grant program, but received only one of the two projects. As local governments are eligible to receive up to $ 1 million per year from the program, Smith said the county would “pull again” to continue the other project during the fall grant cycle.

• Discussion on how to manage a daily amount of $ 5,000 granted to two county employees who are currently handling floodplain administrative duties. Knafel said the $ 5,000 was factored into the salary figures in the budget request for the construction department, but council members generally agreed that the amount should be separated to indicate this role, which is not part of a particular job description but is rather an additional task taken on by some employees.

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