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Howard County, Kokomo Spar Over Equipment Use

The city of Kokomo is in the midst of its budget hearings for next year.

Howard County officials say they hope to resolve a dispute with the City of Kokomo without going to court over who gets to use equipment from two county organizations that the city helped run until recently.

For years, the City of Kokomo helped Howard County pay for and operate the county’s Weights and Measurements Department, as well as its Emergency Management Agency. But recently city officials decided to hand those responsibilities back over to the county and take back about $500,000 in yearly funding.

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight says the city’s reasons for ending the interlocal agreement were economic.

“Just like everyone else we’re trying to run things as efficiently as possible and it makes no sense for us to subsidize county government any more than it would for us to send a check to the state of Indiana,” he says. “Everybody here pays their state taxes, so why would we send an extra financial allocation to the state?”

Goodnight says the terms of the original agreement allow the city to keep the equipment it used to run weights and measures. But County Commissioner Paul Wyman says he thinks that’s unfair to people who live in Howard County.

“It’s our position that, if you don’t want to participate in the operation, since the taxpayers already paid for all the equipment, and we now have responsibility for the operation, we plan on providing the same services to the residents of Howard County,” he says. “So the equipment should go with the operation.

Wyman says Howard County officials will keep trying to negotiate with city officials until Monday, when he says the agencies will have to buy new equipment to carry out their duties. He says the county could still take the city to court if it can’t recoup the equipment.

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