Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Local News

April 6, 2013

County per capita spending drops

Howard County ranked in top 20.

— Since the inception of property tax caps at the state level, spending on core services in Howard County has dropped by almost 18 percent per person since 2007.

Larry Blanchard, a financial consultant to the Lake County Council, conducted a study of the impact of property tax caps on all 92 Indiana counties comparing 2007 with 2012.

Blanchard’s study found per capita spending in Howard County declined at the fourth highest rate in Indiana, trailing only Carroll, Orange and Hendrick counties.

“We wanted to see where we were at after the property tax caps were put in place,” Blanchard said. “We looked at the five years of frozen levies.”

In the study, Blanchard looked at the general fund budget for each county and not tax levies, which could vary from county to county based on local income taxes.

“There were a couple of surprises,” he said. “Howard County was one of them.”

The study has attracted a lot of attention, Blanchard said.

“We want legislators to see this information and how the tax caps have impacted local units of government.”

In 2007, the per capita cost for the Howard County general fund was $273.95, which ranked 59th highest among Indiana’s 92 counties. The per capita cost for 2012 dropped by $48.07 to $225.80 which ranked the county as 20th in the state.

The Miami County per capita rate dropped by $9.37 from 2007 to 2012 to $227.36, a decline of 6.8 percent. The county’s ranking was 24th in 2012 as compared to 37th in 2007.

Tipton County experienced an increase of $85.04 per resident for the operation of core county government services from 2007 to 2012 to $343.34, an increase of 32.9 percent. The county’s ranking went from 50th highest to 75th.

“This is a supreme compliment for Howard County,” Richard Miller, president of the Howard County Council, said. “This is another county doing a study that identified the good work we’re doing.”

Miller said county officials work very well together in looking for ways to reduce spending while providing those core services.

The bulk of the $4 million reduction in the general fund has come over the past five years through the budget process, Miller said.

“We have had cooperation from each and every department,” he said. “The departments are holding the line on spending. The number of transfers of funds at the end of the year is considerably lower, which means those departments are not exhausting the funds. There has been a big savings in the day-to-day operations. The use of technology software has resulted in a reduction in spending.”

Miller said the trend of having less funding available for the operation of county government as a result of the property tax caps will continue.

He said 50 percent of all property in Howard County now falls under the property tax cap.

Councilman Stan Ortman said since he joined the council in 2000 there has been a concern with all expenditures by the county.

“Although the different departments are all independent of each other, they work well together to look for ways to reduce spending,” he said. “The departments have helped keep the expenses down.”

Advancements in the technology used by the county are allowing more work to be done with the same number of employees, Ortman said.

He said by resolving tax issues with Chrysler and Delphi when both companies were going through bankruptcy procedures, county officials brought $60 million into the county which was shared by all taxing units.

“We knew our resources would be limited as a result of the tax caps and worked to make adjustments in spending,” Ortman said. “The groundwork was put in place several years ago when the county was faced with an almost zero operating balance and spending reductions were implemented.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Art FOr the Sky Wallace School hosts Indiana’s first Art for the Sky project From the ground, the crowd gathered at Wallace School of Integrated Arts on Wednesday seemed like nothing more than people in colorful T-shirts standing in odd groups. But with "sky sight," the formation took on the large-scale image of a paint palet

    April 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • City acquires more right of way for Nickel Plate Trail extension The city of Kokomo acquired another piece of land for the construction of the Nickel Plate Trail in its quest to extend the trail from county line to county line. The city's Board of Public Works and Safety approved a recreational trail easement that

    April 24, 2014

  • County residents speak out against wind energy As debate continues over the construction of wind turbines in Howard County and its neighbors, residents are turning up the heat on officials in an effort to stop development in the southeast corner of the county. Concerned citizens spoke out during

    April 24, 2014

  • Driver in fatal hit and run on Center Road pleads guilty The driver of a truck involved in an August hit-and-run crash that killed a 13-year-old boy could get as much as seven years behind bars if a judge accepts his plea. Randall K. Rector, 58, pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crash resulting in d

    April 24, 2014

  • TUFF CURBS Locals upset over Markland curb plans Plans to eliminate left-hand turns along the city's busiest business corridor caused a major uproar Tuesday. Business owners, city officials and state legislators spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday on the phone protesting to Indiana Department of Tr

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police reports Howard County Arrests Tuesday, 4:34 p.m., police arrested Alisha Whitt, 27, 500 block of South Washington Street, at that residence, on a parole violation. Tuesday, 6:21 p.m., police arrested a 15-year-old male in the 400 block of West Sycamore Stree

    April 24, 2014

  • Eastern to move forward with $2M renovation to jr./sr. high school GREENTOWN -- Renovations at Eastern Sr./Jr. High will continue this summer after the board of education on Tuesday approved spending another $2 million on the final stage of upgrades. There will be no net impact on taxes, which has been a priority fo

    April 24, 2014

  • Volunteers still helping tornado victims Back in March, volunteers set out to inform tornado-ravaged neighborhoods there is still help out there. The small group of volunteers, part of the Long Term Recovery Team, took to the streets of the worst areas hit by the Nov. 17 tornadoes, passing

    April 24, 2014

  • NWS - KT042414 - Coats Coats plans to join GOP senators calling for Russian sanctions INDIANAPOLIS -- U.S. Sen. Dan Coats wants tougher sanctions against Russia for its growing involvement in Ukraine, despite signs of wariness back home. "If there is a bully in the schoolyard, the sooner you realize that and stand up to that bully, th

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gardening-Bee Sanctuaries-3 [Duplicate] Bee sanctuaries Bees are pulling a disappearing act. Honeybees are vanishing from their hives. Bumblebee numbers have crashed so radically that some species are believed extinct. Even native solitary bees are in decline. Food supplies dependent upon pollinators are

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Kangaroo Rescued From Swimming Pool Raw: 3 American Doctors Killed in Afghanistan Raw: Obama Arrives at State Dinner in Tokyo Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Raw: Obama Visits Meiji Shrine in Tokyo Stars Talk Guns N' Roses at Golden Gods New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888 Oregon Gay Marriage Ban Goes to Court SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries