ANGOLA — There was hesitation Tuesday when the Steuben County Council met for the first time since holding budget workshops for three days last week.
Councilwoman Ruth Beer wondered if hiring new personnel next year, coupled with raises pretty much across the board was sustainable or whether the county made a bad move last week.
“Just so you all know, anything that you add is going to take away from your surplus, that’s just the way it works. We’re under our max levy, we’re right where we need to be, but any more people it takes away from what you have set aside,” Auditor Kim Meyers said.
“I’m putting the spotlight on you, Kim, and I don’t mean to, but I just want to make sure that we’re really doing the right thing and we don’t make any issues for you down the road or (Deputy Auditor) Kelli (Johnson) down the road,” Beer said.
Council President Rick Shipe said he didn’t want to have a budget discussion Tuesday morning but did invite council members to study the budget and make sure concerns were brought to the table at the next meeting, Oct. 12, when the budget will be finalized.
In a lighter moment, Prosecutor Jeremy Musser thanked the council for making one of his part-time employees full time in 2022.
Shipe reminded Musser that until the budget is final, anything could happen and that full-time position could go back to part-time.
Musser countered, jokingly, that such a move couldn’t occur because his new position has been published in the newspaper and the council surely couldn’t reverse itself after it had been in print.
After years of no new employee requests being granted, the Council approved six new employees, two of which were part-time positions that were made full time, during its budget workshops that lasted Wednesday through Friday last week.
At two, Steuben County Communications received the most new employees. The others have been granted for the surveyor’s office, prosecutor’s office and public defender’s office (though that new person will not receive benefits). A “floating” deputy — an individual who will work part time in two separate offices — was approved, making the current employee full time in 2022. The position will be shared between the treasurer’s and recorder’s offices.
The county’s target budget is about $32 million, which includes all funds, including those that are not funded by property tax revenue. The general fund was penciled in at about $17.9 million.