County commission approves budget

St. Joseph County’s 2021 fiscal-year budget was approved Tuesday by county commissioners.

The $17.5 million budget reflects a decrease of more than $500,000 from the 2020 budget, which was nearly $18.1 million.

County finance director Angie Steinman said the most significant source of revenue for the general fund is property taxes. In 2021, property taxes are expected to provide $9.7 million, about 57 percent of the county’s total revenue for the year.

Among its expenditures, the county’s top costs are $2.37 million to support the sheriff’s department, $2.32 million to the jail, more than $1.2 million to district court and more than $1.1 million to Friend of the Court.

Regarding salaries, Probate Court Judge David Tomlinson’s 2021 pay will be more than $154,000, while judges Paul Stutesman, Jeff Middleton and Rob Pattison will earn about $147,000 each.

The sheriff’s position, held by Mark Lillywhite, increases to more than $100,000 in 2021. Salary for incoming prosecutor David Marvin is $118,450.

County Clerk Lindsay Oswald, who also serves as register of deeds, will see a bump in pay, from $76,000 this year to $85,000 in 2021. Meanwhile, salary for incoming treasurer Kathy Humphreys was set at $74,000. Finally, drain commissioner Jeff Wenzel is pegged to earn $76,000 next year, an increase of about $3,200 from 2020.

County commissioners will also see a small pay increase next year. Their 12-month allowance will go from $8,521 to $8,691.

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