County council approves property tax increase, raises for county employees


The Brown County Council voted this week to raise property taxes to allow for a budget that matches revenue and provide 1-percent raises to county employees.

The county is going to raise taxes by the percentage the state allows, called the “growth quotient.”

Property tax rates will increase by $1.25 per $100,000 of assessed value. The maximum additional money the county will realize from this move will be about $142,000 in revenue.

On average, this will result in about a $8 or $9 increase in taxes per parcel. “There will be some parcels that are $50 and other parcels that’s $1, but the average is only $8 or $9 a year to take the growth quotient,” council Vice President Dave Critser said.

On Aug. 28, the council met for a fourth night of budget reviews.

The proposed budget for all funds, including those funded by a tax levy and those monitored by the state, was $20,244,757, according to a summary of appropriation balances sheet by Jacque Clements with the Association of Indiana Counties.

Initially, the county was looking at more than $600,000 in cuts that had to be made to multiple budgets, including the cumulative capital development fund, which was underfunded by almost $245,000.

At the conclusion of the first week of budget hearings, the council was looking at having to cut $40,000 from requests.

Commissioner Diana Biddle said she would make $40,000 more in cuts to her current budgets this year to create a cash reserve to cover that shortfall next year. She had cut $370,000 out of the commissioners’ general fund during the third night of budget reviews.

In July, the council voted to “thaw” a property tax levy freeze that had been in effect for the past five years.

Most departments kept their budget requests for 2020 to what they were approved for in 2019, with the exception of asking for 3-percent raises for their employees, which was one of the requests the council made ahead of budget reviews.

Employees also will receive longevity pay, which is $100 extra for each year of service.

Read more about the county’s budget review process in the Sept. 11 issue of the Brown County Democrat. Reporter Suzannah Couch attended four nights of budget reviews and is working to break down what happened during those reviews for readers.

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