It appears likely for a second year in a row Howard County will dip into County Economic Development Income Tax reserves to meet designated spending.

Like families when spending outpaces income, there is a need to dip into a savings account to make ends meet. Howard County is employing the same tactic.

Howard County is planning on spending $1,279,000 in 2007 CEDIT funds and revenues are estimated $1,224,121, according to Auditor Ann Wells.

Wells said for 2006 the county had to use $464,122 from the reserves to cover approved expenditures.

“We won’t know until May what the collections will be,” Wells said. “I bet we have to dip into the reserves.”

The county has approximately $1.1 million in CEDIT reserves.

“We may need the money for an emergency,” Wells said. “We’re asking people not to request all the funding at once.”

As an example, Wells said any additional expenses for the operation of the jail has to be paid and could require CEDIT funds.

The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance has not approved the county’s 2007 budget or set a property tax rate, she said.

“We don’t have an approved budget or a tax rate,” Wells said. “We don’t know if the state will reduce the projected revenues.”

She said the Howard County Council has approved the spending of the CEDIT funds for 2007 including $500,000 for employee benefits and $517,000 to pay off the bonds for the Chrysler transmission plant in Kokomo.

The county has also committed to spending $125,000 for the Johanning Civic Center, Council on Aging, 4H Association and county museum; $45,000 for business assistance; and $46,000 for community relief and redevelopment.

Wells is recommending that departments spread out spending throughout the year.

The county has $1.5 million in unappropriated revenues in the general fund for the remainder of 2007, she said.

Twice last year Wells had to suspend paying the county’s bills until the necessary revenues were collected.

Republican Dick Miller, president of the Howard County Council, said spending will be snug in 2007.

“We have to be cautious with our spending,” he said. “Our revenues are only anticipated and not set in stone.”

Miller suggested that the auditor send monthly payments to agencies expecting CEDIT funds to help with the county’s cash flow during the year.

At the council’s meeting last week a request from Sheriff Marty Talbert for $30,000 in CEDIT funds was denied because it was not included in the 2007 Capital Improvement Plan.

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