Commissioner Meeting Notes: Oct 19, 2022

Commissioner Meeting Notes: Oct 19, 2022. 2:00 p.m.

Road Paving Plan. The plan going out to 2026 was briefed at the last commissioner’s meeting. It has yet to be posted to the Highway Departments Website.
https://www.browncounty-in.gov/262/Road-Improvement-Plan

Health Insurance Benefits and Costs.  I have asked the auditor for information regarding what has been budgeted at the beginning of the year, and what the actual costs have been.  The auditor maintains the auditable information needed to track the trends on costs.

State and County Budgeting Process. The budgeting process is “fluid.”  In order to submit a “balanced budget” to the state and to maintain the balance throughout the year, the State underestimates revenue projections and the county underestimates expense projections.  A standard practice.

Without transparency, money management can resemble a three-card monte game. This “fluid” process undermines integrity and transparency.  As a local supplement to the budget, it would be helpful if the county “identified” the underestimated expenses (unfunded requirements). For example, health insurance costs over the past few years have been underestimated by over 500K.  The county can also review the trend on what the state estimated in revenue and what we actually received. This too would be helpful information and help keep the public informed on the process and status of the budget.

Health Insurance Eligibility. Includes: Permanent part-time employees, employees working 20 hours or more, and elected officials – full and part-time. Commissioners and council are part-time.

Employee  Compensation. Melissa Stinson who has accepted a government job in Monroe County reinforced that county employees may be making less than their counterparts in surrounding counties that have larger budgets, but the county does have generous benefits (time off, health insurance, working conditions) that help even out the disparities.  Keith Baker on the council at the time conducted a salary and benefit study in 2018 that identified that the Brown County benefit package was the best of the counties surveyed

Commissioner Meeting Notes: Oct 19, 2022. 2:00 p.m.

Road Paving Plan. The plan going out to 2026 was briefed at the last commissioner’s meeting. It has yet to be posted to the Highway Departments Website.
https://www.browncounty-in.gov/262/Road-Improvement-Plan

Health Insurance Benefits and Costs.  I have asked the auditor for information regarding what has been budgeted at the beginning of the year, and what the actual costs have been.  The auditor maintains the auditable information needed to track the trends on costs.

State and County Budgeting Process. The budgeting process is “fluid.”  In order to submit a “balanced budget” to the state and to maintain the balance throughout the year, the State underestimates revenue projections and the county underestimates expense projections.  A standard practice.

Without transparency, money management can resemble a three-card monte game. This “fluid” process undermines integrity and transparency.  As a local supplement to the budget, it would be helpful if the county “identified” the underestimated expenses (unfunded requirements). For example, health insurance costs over the past few years have been underestimated by over 500K.  The county can also review the trend on what the state estimated in revenue and what we actually received. This too would be helpful information and help keep the public informed on the process and status of the budget.

Health Insurance Eligibility. Includes: Permanent part-time employees, employees working 20 hours or more, and elected officials – full and part-time. Commissioners and council are part-time.

Employee  Compensation. Melissa Stinson who has accepted a government job in Monroe County reinforced that county employees may be making less than their counterparts in surrounding counties that have larger budgets, but the county does have generous benefits (time off, health insurance, working conditions) that help even out the disparities.  Keith Baker on the council at the time conducted a salary and benefit study in 2018 that identified that the Brown County benefit package was the best of the counties our size that were surveyed. https://independentvotersofbrowncountyin.com/2019/07/18/2018-staffing-study/

Health Department Building Remodel. This remodel includes a new public bathroom, break area, and clinic space. Cost estimated at 75-100K. The county purchased this building from the Town at a cost of 400K. The town identified expenses needed for ADA compliance and the county has also made other changes.  At the time of the unanimous decision to purchase this property, the costs of needed changes were not identified. Further, the county does not publish an asset management (capital improvement) plan to manage infrastructure life-cycle costs. The council has identified that such a plan is on their to-do list.

https://independentvotersofbrowncountyin.com/2019/07/18/2018-staffing-study/

Health Department Building Remodel. This remodel includes a new public bathroom, break area, and clinic space. Cost estimated at 75-100K. The county purchased this building from the Town at a cost of 400K. The town identified expenses needed for ADA compliance and the county has also made other changes.  At the time of the unanimous decision to purchase this property, the costs of needed changes were not identified. Further, the county does not publish an asset management (capital improvement) plan to manage infrastructure life-cycle costs. The council has identified that such a plan is on their to-do list.

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