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.