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State Error Could Help Monroe County Balance Its Budget

The state Department of Revenue found out about a programming error earlier this month, giving millions back to counties this year.

Bloomington Showers Building

Photo: Scutter (Flickr)

Monroe County has had difficulty balancing next year's budget.

The state government’s recent computing error could help Monroe County achieve a balanced budget by the end of the year.

The county will receive about $6.6 million from the $200 million that went undistributed.  County Council President Geoff McKim says they will apply $1.4 million of that money to reduce the county’s deficit. That will about cut it in half.

“But 634,000 dollars of budgeted expenditures this year are actually one time reassessment charges that we’d actually collected revenue from in a different period so you really can’t count that,” he says.

McKim says based on previous years the remaining million may not be an issue.  He says departments usually return unspent money at the end of each year and that averages anywhere between $800,000 and $1 million.

“If the numbers from the state hold we can balance the budget for this year if departments remain frugal, if we keep vacant positions vacant as long as possible, if we don’t create new positions and if we all continue to tighten our belts,” he says.

But Council Member Marty Hawk is cautious about that statement. Hawk says unspent appropriations shouldn’t be relied upon and departments have increasingly spent more of the appropriated money as their budgets have gotten tighter.

“We always have during the year departments coming forward and saying we need more money in our budget and many times that will just balance it out,” he says.

Council is still debating the budget.  Another budget meeting is scheduled for April 24.

Kyle Clayton

Kyle Clayton is a WFIU news producer. He is currently studying journalism at Indiana University and comes to WFIU following an internship in the fall of 2011. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned home to Indiana in 2008 to begin his education and pursue his interests in writing.

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