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County budget meetings planned

By BOB HANSEN - bhansen@newsexaminer.com

Fayette County’s budget deliberations will start in August and be finalized before the end of September.

The Fayette County Council set annual budget hearings in its meeting on Tuesday night. The process is being moved forward a few weeks to comply with revised deadlines from the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF), said Mike Wenta, council president.

The process involves the council scheduling full days of meetings during which the county’s department heads tell how much money they need for the coming year. The council reviews those requests and, with guidance and assistance from the Fayette County auditor, prepares a final budget.

The full-day meetings will start at 9 a.m. on Aug. 7 and 9, the council decided. After that, the council will have some evening meetings for further review and discussion. The council scheduled final budget approval for a meeting starting at 6 p.m. Sept. 25.

Auditor Jane Downard said the DLGF has asked all counties to submit their budgets for approval by the end of September. Counties formerly had until October. DLGF reviews the budgets to ensure they meet legal requirements and can send them back to counties with revisions.

Last year, the county’s general fund had a positive operating balance at the end of the year. It was the first time in several years that there had not been deficit spending.

In other business during its half-hour meeting, the Council heard from Fayette Superior Court Judge Paul L. Freed that preparations are underway for the new drug court. He attended a training program in Houston to learn about administering the program and is now developing guidelines for those who will be accepted into the 18-month program. It should begin in mid-August.