Whitley County Judge-executive Pat White, Jr. said it remains up in the air how much the economic slowdown due to the COVID–19 pandemic will affect the upcoming fiscal year budget.
“There are a lot of unknowns,” White said.
The annual budget ranges between $11 million and $15 million with the primary source of revenue being occupational tax. It accounts for approximately half of the revenue.
With numerous businesses forced to close for more than two months, White said the fiscal court will have to deal with less revenue. However, the occupational tax is collected quarterly.
The taxes for January, February and March were filed with us at the end of April. Some of that could have been affected,” White said. “We saw modest declines, but that could be attributed to extensions.”
White said while the county clerk and sheriff’s offices both operate on fees collected in those offices, each has been affected by the pandemic as well.
“They are not having the walk-in traffic and fees generated that they normally would,” White said.
White said the courthouse is scheduled to reopen to the public on Monday.
Safety measures will be in place, including screens at the walk–up counters, and hand sanitizer available at multiple locations throughout.
“We will be talking with employees about checking their temperature before they come to work,” White said. “Anyone with a temperature won’t be eligible to work.
One area that will definitely be affected will be road projects as White said there will be a significant decrease in state road aid.
“Instead of a $90,000 increase, we will see a decrease of $150,000 to $160,000,” White said, noting that will result in a cutback in paving projects.
Three employees have been laid off at the road department as a result of the slowdown.
“We are hoping to avoid other layoffs,” White said.
White said the only significant project county officials have planned in the upcoming year is the construction of bath and shower at the Whitley County Fairgrounds in the Savoy community.
“We are unsure if we will even have a fair this year, so that is one project that can be pared back or slowed down,” White said.
White said the first reading of the new budget is scheduled to be presented at the regular monthly fiscal court meeting on Tuesday.
A budget committee meeting is planned for today in an effort to finalize the budget.
“We can try and estimate how this is going to affect us, but we don’t know,” White said.