County officials look ahead to coming year
PLYMOUTH — While Marshall County government faces challenges in the coming year, local officials feel confident of the county’s abilities to meet them. The economy remains the topic on everybody’s mind and the effect of decreasing tax revenue on county services.
“I really don’t think enough is ever said about the county department heads and employees working within some very tight budgets,” said Auditor Penny Lukenbill. “I was going through the records and the drastic decrease in the amount of additional appropriations that have been sent to the (County) Council shows how hard everybody is working to stay within budget limits.”
“Really we could never give enough credit to our department heads,” said President of the Marshall County Commissioners Kevin Overmyer. “Our employees have worked very hard the past couple of years too and they haven’t had a pay raise the past two years. Hopefully that will change in the coming year.”
“The fact that the Council and the Commissioners work together in this county is a real plus,” said Lukenbill. “You go to conferences and hear horror stories about those two bodies working against each other in other counties. The taxpayers here are getting the best government they can because of that cooperation. We’re all in this together.”
The effect of caps on property tax revenues is in the sights of most county government officials around the state. Nobody is quite sure how those caps will affect any individual county.
“Marshall County government being as frugal as it is has left us in pretty decent shape to weather a hit,” said Commissioner Jack Roose. “We know those tax caps are going to have a bearing on what we are able to afford to do. I’m not sure we’ll see the real effect for another year or so. It’s something that we have to keep our eye on.”
“We’ve got two bridge projects underway, we have to finish Pioneer Road and the 7th Road project continues to move forward,” said Overmyer. “We have a pretty good relationship with INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation) working on finding money for those projects. I know a lot of people say that even if it is federal money it’s still taxpayers money that’s being spent, but the way I look at it is that it’s tax money that’s at least coming back to Marshall County instead of going somewhere else.”
“It may not look like it now but I think in 15 to 20 years from now the growth around Pioneer Road will be significant,” said Commissioner Tom Chamberlin. “I think the landscape in that area will be completely changed.”
The makeup of the Commissioners will also be different in the coming year. Greg Compton will take over the seat on the board that Chamberlin leaves in order to become the new Marshall County Sheriff.
“One of the toughest things for us in the coming year will be replacing Tom,” said Overmyer of Chamberlin’s move. “I am going to miss him being a part of this board. He’s an investigator and that’s a quality that we’re going to miss.”