2023 budget notebook: Monroe County council recommends 5% pay raise for planning purposes

Monroe County employees could be looking at a 5-percent increase to their pay in 2023, while inflation is running a few points higher than that.

At their Tuesday night meeting, Monroe County councilors voted unanimously to recommend for current budget planning purposes that a 5-percent cost-of-living adjustment be made to county employee compensation.

That’s the amount that will be used by staff as they draft the 2023 county budget.

Tuesday’s vote to recommend a 5-percent increase came after county board of commissioners president Julie Thomas reported to the council that the commissioners support an increase that’s nearly double that amount—9.5 percent.

The figure supported by commissioners is based on comparing the June 2021 to June 2022 consumer price index (CPI), as calculated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the midwest region.

It’s the county council’s typical approach to look at the December-to-December numbers for the previous year. Comparing December 2021 to December 2020, the current CPI shows a 7.5-percent increase. Continue reading “2023 budget notebook: Monroe County council recommends 5% pay raise for planning purposes”

Bloomington area budget prep: Income tax revenues for 2023 projected up 13%, property tax levy up 5%

Indiana’s state budget agency has released its estimated county-by-county local income tax (LIT) distributions for 2023, which are numbers local governmental units will use for 2023 budget planning.

For the certified shares category, Monroe County (across all government units) is projected to see about a 13-percent increase—from $34,232,607 in 2022 to $38,815,238 in 2023.

That news comes shortly after the maximum levy growth quotient for property tax revenue was announced for the 2023 budget year: 5 percent.  That’s the biggest percentage increase since at least as far back as 2003. Continue reading “Bloomington area budget prep: Income tax revenues for 2023 projected up 13%, property tax levy up 5%”

Employment notebook: 37 more separations from city of Bloomington in last four months

Earlier this year, when Bloomington’s city council deliberated on increasing the local income tax (LIT) paid by all county residents, part of the pitch from the administration included a need to pay city employees more, to stem the tide of their departures.

The data provided at the time by mayor John Hamilton’s administration included the number of city employees who have left their jobs over the last few years, and the year-to-date numbers for 2022.

The nearly 100 departures in 2021 was a dramatic jump from the roughly 60 departures a year for the previous six years. And the 36 departures up April of this year put Bloomington on a pace to match the big number from 2021. The city of Bloomington has about 850 employees.

Based on a B Square review of online payroll records, the trend for departures has continued over the last four months, as another 37 people have left their jobs at the city of Bloomington. That brings the year-to-date total to 73. Continue reading “Employment notebook: 37 more separations from city of Bloomington in last four months”

Booming Bloomington Transit budget in 2023: Will more than double, from $15M to $34M

The Bloomington city council’s approval of a local income tax increase earlier this year, which is supposed to earmark about $4 million a year to support public transit, is already reflected in the first draft of Bloomington Transit’s 2023 budget.

Bloomington Transit board members reviewed the draft budget at their regular meeting on Tuesday.

The $34 million that is proposed to be spent in 2023 is more than double the $15 million approved for this year’s budget.

Most of the increase is due to the capital cost of buying 18 new buses—four replacements, eight for expanded service, and six for increased frequency. All of those buses would be battery-electric vehicles.

Some of the increase is due to factors that are not unique to Bloomington. The line item for fuel, in the supplies category, will be increasing from $877,500 to $1,472,500. Right now, diesel fuel costs $4.30 per gallon. That stacks up against the 2022 budgeted amount of $2.75 per gallon. So given the market uncertainty, the draft 2023 budget has allowed $5.25 per gallon for diesel fuel.

Two key questions came from BT board member Kent McDaniel, who on Wednesday was re-appointed to the board by the Bloomington city council: How will BT pay for all those buses, and where will they be stored? Continue reading “Booming Bloomington Transit budget in 2023: Will more than double, from $15M to $34M”