GREENCASTLE -- Just when the Putnam County Council thought it was clear of the 2011 budget approval process, a wrench was thrown in the works at Tuesday night's meeting.
After reviewing the binding and non-binding budgets for the county's city, towns, townships, conservancy district, libraries and fire protection districts, the council made final approval of the 2011 budget.
Having reviewed everything going back to last month's budget hearings, the council voted 6-0 to approve the 2011 budget. Councilor Keith Berry was not present at Tuesday's meeting.
"As long as the state doesn't change the numbers they give us, everything's going to be fine," County Auditor Stephanie Campbell said.
However, when the council took public comments at meeting's end, County Commissioner Gene Beck brought up a question of how the budget was being balanced.
As part of balancing the budget, the council had approved $250,000 from the county's health insurance fund to be transferred to other areas. Because the commissioners, not the council, control this fund, this caused a problem.
"The commissioners have control over the health fund money because it's employee money of the county," Beck said.
In order for the money to be a part of the 2011 budget, there must be an ordinance from the commissioners allowing such a move.
Council president Darrel Thomas initially asked Campbell if budget approval could be delayed until the commissioners could approve such an ordinance. Campbell said this was not possible, as the budget had been advertised as being approved on Tuesday.
Questioned by council member Nancy Fogle as to why the issue was not brought up during budget hearings, Beck said he did not know about it then.
The next question hinged on the county's ability to change the funding source in the budget.
"If we have to designate where the $250,000 comes from, can we change our mind?" Thomas asked.
The council decided to move forward with budget approval, but asked Campbell to inquire with the state this morning as to whether the funding source could be changed. If commissioners do not approve the health insurance fund, the rainy day fund is another possible source.
Secondly, Thomas plans to go before the commissioners at their Oct. 4 meeting to request the approval of the ordinance authorizing the council to transfer money from the health insurance fund.
"We're asking them, essentially, to approve what we did," Thomas said.
The only other unresolved budget issue is that of Russell Township, which has not turned in its budget to the county. The council reviewed all other township budgets.