Wayne County Auditor Mark Hoelscher plans to computerize more of his office’s functions.
Hoelscher spoke with Western Wayne News about his plans, then addressed the Wayne County commissioners during their Dec. 13 meeting with department heads. He said the changes will be a major step forward in the county’s finances.
“These are changes I want to make that I think will serve the taxpayers better,” Hoelscher said to WWN.
The county uses software from Low Associates, a payroll and financial company, but Hoelscher said that software is underutilized. He has provided access to all county employees. The access enables offices to better track their expenditures compared to their budget line items.
Hoelscher, who was elected last year but served as auditor in the 1970s, has used paper claims for payments this year, but he said he’s in the process of computerizing the claims process, as well, slowly training departments. He expects bugs, but said he is committed to working through them.
Later during 2024, Hoelscher said the 2025 budgeting process will be done exclusively on computers. Departments will submit budget requests digitally, and that’s how Wayne County Council will receive the budget information. The working budget would then be updated on the computer.
Hoelscher said he’d also like to digitize contracts and meeting minutes, getting rid of paper copies. His office has authority to make some of the changes; however, some areas fall under commissioners or council authority. Hoelscher said he would approach those bodies with his ideas as he moves forward.
Commissioner Jeff Plasterer said those conversations could certainly begin.
“I ran for this office to make changes,” Hoelscher said.
The Wayne County Fairgrounds has increased marketing to boost rentals of First Bank Kuhlman Center and First Bank Expo Hall. The county now wants to improve its service for those who rent the buildings.
Commissioners unanimously approved spending nearly $40,000 on furniture that renters could lease for their events. They gave the go-ahead to order from Church Chairs 4 Less after receiving assurance Dec. 6 from Wayne County Council members that a furniture purchase would be funded.
The order will include 650 chairs, 90 60-inch round tables, 10 cocktail tables, dollies to transport the furniture and black bunting to wrap around a stage.
Abington Township Trustee Steve Kaiser spoke with commissioners about his plan to build a new fire station and community center on land donated to the township for a fire station.
Kaiser said the priority, though, is a new fire station. The current station is falling apart, and a fire truck that Noblesville donated is too big for its bays. Kaiser stores the truck in his barn to protect it from weather.
Building the fire station is estimated to cost $750,000. Kaiser would like to apply for a $500,000 Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs Community Development Block Grant. Abington Township is not eligible to apply for a grant; however, Wayne County government is permitted three grants.
The nonprofit fire department would be eligible for a grant by using one of the county’s three slots. Plasterer told Kaiser he would help Kaiser connect with OCRA’s liaison for Wayne County.
Commissioners gave Mike Sharp, the county’s highway superintendent, authority to reserve a semi tractor that’s in the 2024 budget.
Sharp found a 2017 tractor with 121,633 miles available at Ryder of Indianapolis for $41,995.
A version of this article appeared in the December 20 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.