Delaware County Council calls on Building Better Communities to help save money

The Delaware County Council is facing a $1.7 million budget shortage due to property tax caps, and they are looking to Ball State University experts for some input on how to save costs.

Council President Chris Matchett said the group is looking at several options for saving money. Building Better Communities, a Ball State service to help Indiana businesses face workplace challenges, was hired to create a business model for phased and early retirement.

Brien Smith, associate dean of the Miller College of Business, said the plan will cost the county government $8,000, but if it's useful, the county can enjoy permanent savings.

Smith is one of the three-member team that's helping the council through BBC. Currently, the team does not include students, but he said they might be called on to help with crunching numbers.

Smith said the county is taking a humanitarian approach to addressing the shortage.
"The county is not targeting to cut employees," he said. "They're looking to offer incentives to people at retirement age."

Matchett said the county council is considering the retirement plan among other ideas. He said it is worth considering because workers with a longevity plan, those who have worked for the county for 20 or 30 years, earn an extra $4,000 or $5,000 each year.

e said even if these positions are filled with new workers, their longevity won't take effect for about five years. Even if 10 or 20 people decided to take the phased or early retirement, it would save the county money.

Other options include cutting wages by 5 to 10 percent, Matchett said. He said about 400 to 500 people work for the county, including 911 personnel, the highway department, paving crews and correctional officers.

On Sept. 1, the county council will start reviewing ideas from BBC. Matchett said the county budget hearing will be in the middle of September.

"It may pan out that we don't even use [the BBC retirement plan]," he said. "It's tough right now on all of us, and they're good people."

NUMBERS
$1.7
million shortage in the 2011 budget for Delaware County department workers
$8,000 paid to Building Better Communities for their consulting work


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