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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Updated: Lawrence County Council Failed to Advertise Aviation Tax Levy

LAWRRENCE COUNTY - OCTOBER 17, 2022 - The Lawrence County Council failed to advertise a new tax levy for the Lawrence County Aviation fund and conduct public hearing on the proposed changes.

A parallel runway is being constructed at the Virgil Grissom Municipal Airport to prevent runway accidents

The budget for the Lawrence County Aviation Fund Increased 165 percent from last year's budget cycle. The Lawrence County Health Department's tax levy has been reduced reducing its revenue by 24.82 percent and the Civil Defense tax levy and revenues will be reduced by 32 percent.

This comes after the 2023 Budget for Lawrence County increased from $27.4 Million to $28.9 Million following a five percent pay increase for county employees and elected officials.

The county General Fund budget increased by 27 percent over last year's budget. Since the public hearing of the proposed 2023 budget, significant changes have been made to the levies and budget.

According to Lawrence County Auditor Jessica Staggs the budget of $27.4 Million budget included a 0 percent, 3 percent and 5 percent pay increase. The Lawrence County Council attempted to decrease the budget by $1 Million and ended up climbing to $1.5 Million.

The Lawrence County Council voted at least three times on the proposed pay increases with the first vote failing to give county employees a three percent pay increase, a three percent pay increase for county employees, and elected leaders with a five percent pay increase for the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department employees was then passed shortly after, and more recent a five percent pay increase for everyone was passed.

At this time the none of the previous votes has been rescinded as required by Roberts Rules of Order.

In addition, a public hearing on the proposed changes to the county's budget and tax levy changes were not made ten days in advance of the last vote.

Jeff Lytton serves as Lawrence County Council member and Manager of the Lawrence County Aviation Board

Lawrence County Council member Jeff Lytton serves as both a Lawrence County Council member and manager of the Virgil Grissom Airport voted in favor of the five percent pay increase.

Indiana Department of Local Government Finance told the Lawrence County Zephyr on Monday afternoon, that they did not know whether a conflict of interest exists with Lytton being both a county council member and airport manager.

State law prevents township trustees from voting on matters related to the fire department if they were a member, but DLGF was unsure of whether this was indeed a conflict of interest.

The public hearing for the budget adoption will be held on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at the Lawrence County Courthouse.

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