Both Elkhart and St. Joseph County recently passed their budgets for the 2022 fiscal year.
The St. Joseph County Council passed a roughly $192 million budget Tuesday evening, putting the county at a $2.4 million deficit.
The spending will be used to boost salaries for county employees – the minimum salary is now $32,000 a year, or about $16.41 an hour.
Some council members objected to the deficit, though they supported the salary increases. Councilman Richard Pfeil said he would rather use surplus revenue than spend down the county’s cash reserves.
“I very much support a program that would take that $5 million dollars in padded income and, particularly, support our employees,” he said.
But with $26 million in cash reserves – almost 30 percent of its general fund – Councilman Corey Noland said the county can stand to spend a little extra.
“We can’t do this every year,” he said. “But it’s time, and we have the ability to, and I think it’d be a shame if we didn’t.”
The budget ultimately passed 6-3, with the council’s Republican members – Mark Root, Richard Pfeil and Mark Telloyan – voting against it.
The Elkhart County Council unanimously passed a $145.9 million budget Saturday, about $3 million less than advertised. The biggest reduction came from the county’s general fund, with smaller decreases to elections and registration, parks and recreation, and the health fund.
Still, the 2022 budget represents about a 10 percent increase from 2021’s budget of $132.5 million.
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