2021 County Budget

Post Budget Approval.

Jan 19, 2020 Council Meeting – 249K request for the Music Center
Jan 19 2021 Council Meeting Agenda

Jan 19, 2020. Council Meeting – Agenda Item – CVC/Music Center Mgmt Group Oversight
2021_01_19 County Council Mtg – Clark – Outline

Dec 18, 2020County gets nearly $500K for COVID-related expenses  y

BCM Facebook Post by Tim J. Clark   County Counci Council Meeting. Dec 28, 2020, 6:30 pm via Zoom.
  • Considerations of the $239,000 funding request for the Music Center was postponed until next month. Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were developed by Commissioner Biddle with the Music Center for “renting space” to county offices.
  • These MOUs were not previously shared with the Council nor were projected financial requirements with renting space discussed at the Budget Hearings. Further, there were no invoices provided that identified the detail related to the specific rental charges. For example, which office, what is the justification for meetings (as opposed to a zoom meeting), when were the meetings, and for how long? On space for the clinic, wasn’t grant money received to pay for expenses like labor and rental space?
  • The intent for the “rental agreement” was to address space concerns related to Covid and provide the Music Center with a source of revenue to cover operating expenses and pay back the $150K loan from the county that was used to make the interest payments on the mortgage. The county received $490K from the CARES Act funding to reimburse county taxpayers for the extra expenses associated with Covid – this was primarily labor costs. Commissioner Biddle has identified her interest to leverage the Cares act reimbursement to subsidize (bailout) the Music Center. The council is responsible for reviewing and approving all budgets. Better management of the revenue from the innkeepers tax would prevent the need for county taxpayers to subsidize this venue.
  • Given unanimous approval by the commissioners and council to approve this venue (without an independent study on the feasibility and risks), it should be interesting to see how the revenue shortfalls for the Music Center will be addressed.
  • If there are shortfalls, a documented/legal “loan” from the county would be preferable to a taxpayer-funded subsidy (bailout). A loan could be paid back with revenue from the innkeepers tax. If/when the venue is sold to the private sector, conditions of the sale should include paying back any outstanding loans to taxpayers
  • Before the Music Center, 90%+ the revenue from the innkeepers tax went to the CVB to market tourism and pay for the visitors center. Their percent has been reduced but the first priority for the revenue is the Music Center. CVB needs other sources of revenue — this could come from tourism business owners or the Town of Nashville. Likely all the businesses have their own social media related marketing efforts.

Dec 2, 2020County council rescinds budgets, re-approves after error found

Oct 20, 2020, County Council Meeting.   No surprises. The state allows counties to accept an increase in taxes as a result of a calculation referred to as the Growth Quotient. This year it is around $130K  and was approved by the Council. The increase will be shared by property owners.

  • County employees received a 3% cost of living increase.
  • The budget accommodates an increase associated with ambulance service and employees’ health insurance costs.
  • Facebook Post – BCM
    • Commentary: This is the third year I sat through the budget process. With the exception of the consultants and attorneys that work within the system, I do not think there is a citizen in the county – if not Indiana (including our county elected officials) that could explain the financial report, taxes, property assessment, appraisal, and budget processes. Note that by law, We the People are responsible for the performance of the system and lack the knowledge to provide the needed oversight. You can delegate accountability to an elected official but not responsibility. A solution could include a Go Fund Me campaign to developed a needed citizen guide.

Nov 10, 2020. County budget approved; slight tax increase included By

Sep 22, 2020.  Council moves $500,000 to pay health insurance for rest of year By 

Unlike the Schools, the county has an expensive and high-risk plan that routinely exceeds budget projections. In 2019, it was $650,000 over and in 2018 $700,000.

Sep 1, 2020. BCD. County adjusts budget requests for 2021; forecast revenue drops around 5 percent By

Aug 21, 2020. Brown County Matters – Notes from the hearings.

County Council – Budget Hearings Aug 17-19, 2020 – Notes.

o. Potential GOOD News – Projected costs expected to be less than projected revenue by roughly 147K at this point. Kudos to the Offices and Departments that provide in the words of the county consultant, “reasonable and workable” budgets. State and federal grant money also helped to supplement lost revenue due to Covid.

o. Near Final Budget for 2021. This will occur in October which provides the needed time to confirm overall assessed property values, revenue projections from the state and feds (grant money), and county costs. The State also builds in a “growth” related increase (3-4% range?). The county can opt to decline this increase that generally results in passing on modest increases in tax rates. Note also that the council’s “budget” determines the extent of any property tax increases..

o. Music Center / Convention Visitors Commission (CVC). The bank is requiring that the Music Center retain 50%of the revenue from the innkeeper’s tax to help ensure the venue can meet interests and principal payments. The county “loaned” the center up to $150K from the motor vehicle fund to cover interest payments and it is expected that interest only payments will continue through the first quarter of next year.

o. Music Center / Convention Visitors Commission (CVC). The bank is requiring that the Music Center retain 50%of the revenue from the innkeeper’s tax to help ensure the venue can meet interests and principal payments. The county “loaned” the center up to $150K from the motor vehicle highway fund to cover interest payments. It is expected that interest-only payments will continue through the first quarter of next year.cision-making.

o. Music Center / Convention Visitors Commission (CVC). The bank is requiring that the Music Center retain 50%of the revenue from the innkeepers tax to help ensure the venue can meet interests and principal payments. The county “loaned” the center up to $150K from the motor vehicle highway fund to cover interest payments. It is expected that interest-only payments will continue through the first quarter of next year.

o. Note that by Statute (
IC 6-9-14), the council is responsible for reviewing and approving the CVC budget which in the past has basically consisted of the CVC identifying the amount of revenue expected and that will be spent (generally, all of it). This hands-off approach contributed to the council not requiring a hold-back of revenue to cover mortgage payments vice the bank having to step-in. Before the Music Center, over 90% of the revenue was transferred to the Convention Visitors Bureau (CVB) (a non-profit) that was responsible for marketing and promoting tourism.

o. Music Center – County Meetings. I may have been the only citizen that attended all three sessions. No waiting in line and a wide range of seating choices. 🙂 Suzannah Couch from the Democrat also attended all the sessions – looking forward to reading about her perspective.

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