What do the 4H Fairgrounds, the safety of your food at local restaurants, and County Road 800 East all have in common? The money to pay for all of them is allocated by the Tippecanoe County Council.
The council develops and oversees the budget that helps pay for the fairgrounds, the health department, and the highway department as well as the sheriff department, county jail, courts and courthouse, county parks, area planning commission, all bridges, drainage, and much more. There are over 50 different departments and over 100 different budgets for which the council is responsible. The General Fund with over $50M available is the largest account.
The council consists of 7 members of which 3 are elected at-large by the entire county and 4 which are elected by districts in the county. All serve 4-year terms. At-large elections occur during presidential years, while the district elections occur during the mid-term elections.
Every year the council meets with each county department to discuss the current spending and their needs for the upcoming year. The input is then reviewed and refined at the annual budget meeting in late August, at which time the council looks at incoming revenue and determines staffing and salaries. Every budget needs to be balanced. In September, the council approves the final budget and sends it to the state for final approval before the end of the year.
During the rest of the year, the council meets monthly to make any adjustments as actual revenue and spending is reported. Often, additional requests for money are reviewed as the year progresses and better information about needs and resources is available.
The council is also responsible for funding larger capital projects, such as the new 4H Fairgrounds. In early 2021, the council approved the construction of a sheriff’s administration building and an addition to the Community Corrections building. In early 2022, the council will be deciding how $38 M from the American Rescue Plan will be spent.
You can see the council in action the second Tuesday of every month at 8:30 am either in person at the Tippecanoe County Office building in downtown Lafayette or via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TippecanoeCountyIndiana) or YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJIeeA9ZQo9EllGdZTdjurQ).
By Lisa Dullum, County Councilor District 4