Wayne County Council planned to adopt the county’s 2024 budget during its Oct. 18 workshop; however, that did not occur.
Instead, adoption was delayed until council’s next scheduled meeting on Nov. 1, which is the approval deadline established by the Department of Local Government Finance.
Previously, council voted to raise employee salaries to job-specific midpoints identified by human resources consultant Waggoner, Irwin, Scheele and Associates of Muncie, then provide all employees an additional 2% raise. Because each employee will receive different amounts to reach the midpoint, council needed to know exactly how much the raises will cost. Council then plans to decrease its one-time-expenditure money to offset the raises.
The necessary salary information was not available Oct. 18, and council did not have the updated budget total to compare against expected new money. While checking the 2024 salary ordinance shortly before the meeting, human resources had discovered a possible error in 2023 that would impact the 2024 budget. That needed further exploration.
Salary ordinance approval was also on the Oct. 18 agenda and was delayed. There is no state deadline for that approval, however.
“We will work diligently between now and then to make sure it’s what we want,” Council President Beth Leisure said about the budget.
The county has advertised a $50,895,661 budget on the DLGF’s Gateway website (https://budgetnotices.in.gov/ReportMaster.aspx?uid=1690&yr=2024&mode=ALL), including $38,238,206 in the general fund.
Court staff raises
Judge Charles Todd Jr. advocated before council to provide additional pay raises for court services staff, such as reporters, bailiffs and schedulers.
The county’s judges have requested pay increases that significantly exceed the raises council has agreed to provide. Todd said court staff not only are dealing with increased case loads, but technology requires them to develop different skill sets.
Council recommended the judges work with human resources to update job descriptions. The updated descriptions would then be submitted to the consultants for analysis. If required skills have changed, the jobs could possibly be reclassified within the county’s position and pay structure.
Commissioner Jeff Plasterer updated council members about the county’s American Rescue Plan Act expenditures.
The county received $12,797,195 in ARPA money. Council has so far appropriated $2,097,389 for expenditures, plus $5,893,253 for the Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program projects.
That leaves $4,806,553 uncommitted from the county allocation. Commissioners are developing a list of projects that might qualify for ARPA money.
Breast cancer awareness
Council members Cathy Williams and Leisure wore pink during the meeting to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Williams said breast cancer impacts nearly everyone in some form and they wanted to honor survivors and help raise awareness during the meeting that was televised by Whitewater Community Television. A display inside the Wayne County Administration Building also increases awareness.
A version of this article appeared in the October 25 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.