VALPARAISO | The Porter County Commissioners are taking an optimistic view in planning for local income tax revenue next year, despite some recent declines in the funding.
The three-member board gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a spending plan that calls for a 35 percent increase in expected revenue to $4.875 million over each of the next four years.
Commissioner Nancy Adams, R-Center, said the figure was bumped up to be sure no revenue received is left unaccounted for.
The Porter County Council has called on the commissioners to provide more detailed explanations of how they intend to spend the income tax revenue.
Porter County Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, has defended the more general planning approach, saying the commissioners need to have funding available to them for emergency spending.
The newly proposed spending plan breaks the funding down into eight general categories for each of the next four years.
The largest sum of $1.1 million is set aside for road, ditch, drainage and related engineering work.
A new category for large drainage projects was created at $900,000. Adams said the commissioners had been pulling money from other funds to pay for the work.
Another $900,000 is set aside in the plan to be shared by the commissioners for projects within each of their districts, as well as to promote economic development and the animal shelter.
The building maintenance fund was increased by $50,000 to $650,000, and $625,000 is designated for park land acquisition and equipment purchases.
A fund for federally-mandated programs was given $300,000, as was a fund for consultants. Another $100,000 is targeted for improvement projects.
A consultant hired by the commissioners said last summer that local income tax revenue have declined significantly since 2009. Only recently has there been a modest increase in that funding.