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Monday, May 20, 2013
There's hope for courthouse clock, maybePosted Friday, August 22, 2008, at 3:31 PM
Tick-toc, tick-toc, tick-toc, tick-toc.
That's the sound that soon might be resonating from the long-time out-of-service clock that sits atop the Greene County Courthouse in downtown Bloomfield.
I saw local clockmaster Basil Bennett from the Dancing Bear Shop on West Main Street in Bloomfield entering the courthouse attic this week with flashlight in hand. I was told he was "looking at the clock" to see what was going to be needed to fix it.
I know several of our readers have commented in recent months on our Web site -- www.gcdailyworld.com -- about the clock and wondered when and if it might be fixed.
Well, I can tell you at least someone has asked Bennett to take a look at the historic clock -- and trying to figure out if it's worth fixing. I know many who frequent the downtown area in the county seat would appreciate the old timekeeping relic being restored and working again.
I'm not sure how long it's been out of service, but I've been around this area since about 1990 and I don't recall if I ever saw it working.
I guess the next question is what shallow pool of budget money will county officials be able to drain a few bucks from to get the community timepiece working again?
I can safely tell you that the 2009 budget that the Greene County Council will be trying to piece together during the first week in September is a very, very tight one.
That's not really a big news flash -- it seems like that's a dilemma that's faced every year. This happens in short because we are a very big county, with a small tax base and a lot of miles to cover by our law enforcement/first responders and to maintain by our highway department crew.
But hang on. Next year could be even worse.
At least two members of the current county council have told me that the 2009 budget looks like it might be really tough to chip down.
It's been estimated that the proposed budgets preliminarily submitted by the department heads, officeholders, county commissioners and county council come up between $1.7 million and $2 million over what can be raised by the tax levy.
Normally, the council has had pretty good success chopping a little more than $1 million from the budget proposals every year and still have been able to fork over some small raises to county employees.
The county budget projection for his year is far from optimistic.
We've seen state officials shift away several budget responsibilities -- only to see others imposed through unfunded mandates from our lawmakers in Indianapolis.
The state has also imposed restrictions on the ability of local governments to collect property taxes. For civil (non-school) governments, annual increases in operating levies are restricted to the six-year average of statewide personal income growth. Civil government cumulative funds have maximum rate limits, and most are also included within the operating levy ceiling.
What that means is the budgets will have to be combed through line item by line item with very sharp pencils -- looking for any possible cuts.
That task will probably be compounded this year by volatile fuel costs that nobody can predict as well as rising medical costs for plenty of really sick inmates who are taking up residence in our county jail -- thanks to a methamphetamine and alcohol problem that continues to be a social and economic epidemic.
Also figuring into the uncertain budgetary mix will be the continuing escalating costs for prosecuting and getting folks who break the law through our local judicial system.
Those costs are going through the roof and don't expect that to change much.
These kinds of costs are those that nobody can easily project or even make an educated guess about.
Some tough choices likely will be made.
It looks like the County Council will have be even "leaner and meaner" as they approach this year's budget task.
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