A decision on public employee raises may determine whether or not nonprofits receive a funding increase from the county in 2015.
Kosciusko County Council is reviewing this week a $33.2 million proposed budget for next year, an increase of nearly $2 million from this year but still short of actual expenditures in 2013. Increases in many funds, such as $165,000 for highway department trucks not included in the current budget, are largely offset by winding down payments on the justice building – a savings of $942,000.
Council voted last night to consider including an increase in funding for not-for-profit organizations only if they also approve a pay increase for  county employees during another meeting Thursday. Ron Truex told council that he and other commissioners weighed either keeping the nonprofit funding level or tying it to public employee pay.
“We couldn’t see us giving nonprofits a bigger raise than our employees,” Truex said Tuesday.
Council voted on the potential increase after President Bob Sanders confirmed that, even with a raise, the budget would still come in below the publicly advertised figure.
Also discussed Tuesday was $70,000 extra for public defender reimbursement, called pauper counsel, under superior courts II and III, bringing the total to $350,000. Judges Joe Sutton and James Jarette noted spending for subsidized counsel has increased in recent years – eight of 16 cases that day alone had qualified – but also that much of the spending for courts is reimbursed by the state.