Good start to new year for County Council

PLYMOUTH — If the rest of the year continues the way it began, the Marshall County Council would likely consider it very successful.
Marshall County Auditor Penny Lukenbill had good news for the Council as it held its first meeting of the new year.
Lukenbill was able to return around $800,000 to the general fund — money that was budgeted from the previous year and not spent.
Lukenbill and the Council praised the work of the county department heads who made the savings possible. It also started discussion on another topic.
“I feel we need to find a way to compensate our employees this year,” said Councilman Ralph Booker. “We really can’t go three years without offering a raise.”
“Now is the time to start looking at that so that we can be ready when budget time comes,” said Council President Matt Hassel.
The Council was also able to build up the rainy day fund at the suggestion of Lukenbill. She reported as the year began, the general fund had a balance of around $6.4 million and suggested the transfer of $600,000 to the rainy day fund.
In other business:
• The Council reorganized for the coming year and welcomed new member John Benedict, who takes over the seat left by Fred Lintner. Lintner did not seek re-election.
Matt Hassel will remain Council President with Don Morrison as Vice President.
• Marshall County Emergency Management Agency Director Clyde Avery reported that the county was awarded an extra $3,000 as part of a grant.
• Increased immunization load has made it necessary for the Marshall County Health Department to add help.
The department asked for an additional appropriation from the Tobacco Cessation trust fund to help with the cost of an extra part time nurse and clerical assistant to help twice a week with the number of immunizations.
The Health Department will also make an award of $8,000 to the LifePlex for their tobacco cessation programs.