Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

January 16, 2014

PAUL WYMAN: Spending in check in Howard County

Employees instrumental to success

First, let me say it has been an honor to serve you as a Howard County commis-sioner this past year. Serving as one of your county executives, my No. 1 focus has been managing taxpayer money in a fiscally responsible way.

I want to share with you some of the successes we have been having in county government, as a result of many hard-working folks:

• We are debt-free. As a Republican, this is probably one of the things I am most proud of.

• We now have an approximate $9 million surplus.

• We built our “rainy day” fund from zero to $2 million.

• The merged city-county dispatch saves county taxpayers $700,000 per year.

• All $860,000 in GM back taxes collected were returned directly to the taxpayers.

• Our county tax rate is 18 percent below our five closest county peers.

• We restructured our workman’s compensation insurance for an opportunity to save up to $100,000 in 2014.

• We have reduced spending in many areas.

• We have instituted an employee wellness program that will reduce future insurance costs.

• We approved the new mass notification system for community emergencies to begin in 2014.

• We completed renovations and increased capacity at the jail, with no tax increase.

• We raised in excess of $250,000 with a commissioners’ property tax sale.

The following are important economic development projects we worked hard for:

• The Darrough Chapel sewer project is now complete.

• Twenty-three businesses located in downtown Kokomo as a result of downtown business grants.

• We assisted in the Russiaville Community Center and sewer project.

• We funded a grant for the Bona Vista Job Program for individuals with disabilities.

• We continued our financial support of the county 4-H program.

• We supported the YMCA building project.

• We completed the Kitty Run Drain project and other major drain and tile work.

• We supported the Nickel Plate Trail system extension to Kokomo.

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