Wayne County’s probation department paid for court interpreters in Tangale, Kekchi and more last year.

While the need to interpret languages other than Spanish is relatively rare, it’s costly — about $200 an hour. A state grant usually pays those costs, but an upcoming trial that would require two French translators could strain the probation office’s budget.

Adam McQueen, the assistant chief probation officer, addressed Wayne County Council members during their Jan. 3 meeting about the interpreter needs and the draining interpreter budget.

The Indiana Supreme Court did not provide Wayne County a grant for the first half of 2024, instead asking the county to spend down its available funds. McQueen said he will apply again in May for grant funding that begins July 1, expressing confidence he will receive that grant.

Probation has $2,784 remaining in two funds from which it could pay interpreters. Council directed McQueen to spend those funds into the red, then council would later decide how to cover the deficit.

While 95% of needed interpretation is Spanish, interpreters were needed last year for Tangale, a Nigerian language; Kekchi, a Mayan language in Belize; Haitian-Creole; American Sign Language; Georgian; and French.


Council unanimously appropriated money to five funds to provide money for budgeted expenses and American Rescue Plan Act expenditures.

The appropriations included $600,000 to county EDIT, $4,707,905.97 to consolidated EDIT, $999,500 to the tourism bureau, $11,374,885 for ARPA and $827,537 to the health fund. 

The county EDIT appropriation satisfies the $500,000 commitment to the Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program and provides $100,000 for commissioners to use during unforeseen circumstances. Consolidated EDIT commitments include the county’s contributions to the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County operating budget, half of which is due during January.

The health fund appropriation provides the money for the Wayne County Health Department’s regular budget. The department received Jan. 2 an additional $801,000 from the new Health First Indiana program to expand health services. That money has a budget separate from the regular budget.

Commissioner Jeff Plasterer told council the county is in good financial shape even as commissioners address maintenance issues that have accumulated. He said commissioners would address with council 2024 and 2025 projects, including ways to utilize uncommitted ARPA money.


Beth Leisure remains council’s president for 2024 after a unanimous vote. Max Smith serves as the vice president.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 10 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.