2013: County Council discusses budget

COLUMBIA CITY — The Whitley County Board of Commissioners/Council held a joint meeting Tuesday at the Whitley County Government Center to discuss the 2013 county budget, department heads, county CEDIT plan, county group insurance funding and cumulative funds 2013 rates.While the County Council still needs answers to several questions they posed at their meeting for the 2013 budget, some issues were discussed and decided upon with a general consensus.“This meeting is mainly for us to get answers to questions we have,” said Councilwoman Paula Reimers.County department representatives and the County Commissioners were present to address these questions or to assure the council they would fine the information and present it to them at another meeting.Topping discussion on the commissioner’s budget plan were questions from the council on the county’s emergency medical service.Amber explained that Parkview would be in need of a new ambulance, and the commissioners wondered if CEDIT (County Economic Development Income Tax) funds could be appropriated for this purpose.Councilman Jim Bayman suggested the funds for the ambulance be sought either from the Whitley County Community Foundation or Parkview Hospital.After the council was told one of the existing ambulances may need $10,000 in engine work, they agreed Parkview should either purchase a new engine or a new vehicle.Also presenting long discussion at the meeting was the EMA department’s sirens.“I think the thoughts of the board were something we really could use if the budget got approved were more tornado sirens around the county in the populated areas,” said Amber.Being a newcomer to that board, Reimers said the EMA wants to realign themselves, focusing on the needs of Whitley County.“We are restructuring,” said Reimers.“I’m very excited about the EMA’s future, and I think you will notice a big difference over time.”The council agreed more sirens in populated areas would be a good use of money.The council will have its next meeting Aug. 7.