Lake council clears decks for balanced 2014 budget

2013-09-24T15:03:00Z 2013-09-24T21:33:12Z Lake council clears decks for balanced 2014 budgetBy Bill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com
September 24, 2013 3:03 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | The Lake County Council tied up a few loose ends in preparation for Monday's final vote on a balanced 2014 budget for county government.

The council reduced next year's spending on the Lake County Jail and Sheriff's Department by $290,000 and offered to reconsider a request by the Lake Superior Court judges to use about $300,000 in fees paid by users of the court documents' website for court staff pay raises and other court expenses.

Council members heard a plea from interim Lake Juvenile Judge Thomas Webber Sr. to give his court an extra $170,000 to restore pay cuts the court staff took in 2009 to help balance the county government's budget then. He said some court security officers are paid only $9 an hour. Council members didn't act on his request.

Lake County Surveyor George Van Til asked the council to commit to finding a permanent way to fund the annual maintenance of the county's storm water drainage system.

Council President Ted Bilski, D-Hobart, said the council is committed to that but cannot give Van Til a definitive answer until next year when officials have a better estimate of how much money the new 1.5 percent income tax will generate. Bilski said Van Til is getting $1.6 million for next year's projects.

Bilski said Councilwoman Elsie Franklin, D-Gary, couldn't be present for Tuesday's meeting because of a death in her family.

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