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ANDERSON — The Madison County Council will be asked this week to approve almost $500,000 in new funding requests.

The council meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Any new approved spending will reduce the county’s operating balance as it enters 2020. Auditor Rick Gardner said currently the county has $5.9 million in the operating balance and $341,470 in the rainy day fund.

The projected operating balance will be $7.3 million on Jan. 1, he said.

“We need an operating balance of $9 million to get through the first six months of 2020,” he said. “Any additional funding approved this year will lower the operating balance.”

This year the county took a $2 million advance draw on the June property tax settlement.

“We can’t keep taking money from the operating balance,” Gardner said. “We have a cash flow problem.”

He said if the council approves the $500,000 in funding requests it will have to consider revisiting the 2020 proposed county budget of $38.1 million to make additional cuts.

The council last month approved a motion for all county offices and departments to cut their 2020 budgets by 1% to keep the proposed budget at the $38.1 million mark.

Gardner noted when he took office as auditor in 2017 the county had an operating balance of $10.7 million, which was reduced by $3 million to pay the county’s share for the new Eisenhower Bridge in downtown Anderson.

Sheriff Scott Mellinger is requesting $137,250 in funding for the department, including $105,650 for part-time help, mainly for courthouse security.

Mellinger is also seeking approval of $104,000 in the jail budget for overtime and medicine costs.

Traditionally the council has reduced Mellinger’s annual budget requests with the understanding that additional funding will be required in any given year.

Coroner Danielle Noone is requesting an additional $75,000 for professional services, mainly to pay for autopsies, from either the general fund or rainy day fund.

Al Epperly, the county’s property manager, is requesting $111,500 in the courthouse budget, including $50,000 for repairs and maintenance.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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