News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 4, 2009

Council presented cost-cutting ideas

TERRE HAUTE — Moving to a four-day work week, discontinuing employees cell phones and eliminating take-home vehicles were the main suggestions tossed out at a public hearing about county government Tuesday.

Around 50 people gathered in the Vigo County Council chambers in the County Annex to voice concerns and suggestions for the council’s next budget, which is facing a $2.6 million deficit.

Larry Davis, a taxpayer, suggested the county pay mileage instead of having take-home vehicles because then there wouldn’t be any maintenance or insurance costs. He also suggested eliminating county employees’ cell phones.

Both of his suggestions were echoed through the 11/2-hour-long forum.

There are around 200 vehicles in the county’s fleet, but it was unclear how many were used as take-homes. Members of the council stated they planned to look into the matter.

Taxpayer Linda Morris suggested having four-day work weeks, in which employees would have nine-hour days for four days instead five, eight-hour days. Having county buildings closed for the fifth day could possibly save money from energy bills.

“We don’t need to be punished by having to pay more taxes,” she said.

Taxpayer Mike Collins agreed and added he didn’t want to attend another meeting only to hear about tax increases.

Bernard Ridens, executive director of the Vigo County Taxpayers Association, pointed out the budget deficit is not the fault of the council, but was a consequence of last year’s property tax relief bill, HB 1001.

Ridens encouraged everyone to attend the next crackerbarrel session at 10 a.m. Feb. 14 in the Vigo County Public Library to let their legislators know their concerns.

“We’re going to have to work harder and smarter,” Ridens said about finding solutions to the deficit problem.

Other in attendance made it clear raising taxes or cutting jobs should not be options.

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    March 12, 2010