FORT WAYNE – Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries will soon have a new financial officer to help him out with his $24 million budget.
Allen County Council members approved hiring a new finance director Thursday, and set the salary range at $48,859 to $63,623, depending on experience and expertise.
Although the idea – brought up by council members during last years budget hearings – was initially met with little enthusiasm, the sheriffs department and the auditors office are now on board.
There are so many different operations within the sheriffs department, Auditor Tera Klutz said. I was not crazy about the idea, but now I am excited. This person could be an asset to the sheriffs department and to the county as a whole.
In addition to the salary, the position would require other expenses such as benefits, a computer, a workstation, software and office supplies.
But the benefits far outweigh the expenses, Klutz said.
I do think it will save us money over time, but it might not happen the first year, Klutz said. This person needs to get a grasp on what the department does.
Benefits include the implementation of accounting practices and procedures, more accurate reporting, opportunities to find efficiencies and effective practices as laws change and the ability to draft a budget in several media forms.
The finance director will eventually serve as the liaison between the sheriff and the council, Klutz said.
Allen County Chief Deputy Dave Gladieux said he and Fries had also warmed up to the idea.
Nobody likes someone coming in and looking over their shoulders, but I am excited about this, Gladieux said. Sometimes things are just being done because thats the way they have always been done. It will nice to have someone come in with fresh eyes and new ideas. We are all for it.
The sheriffs budget represents a good chunk of the countys $87.3 million general fund budget, and has often caused increased discourse as funds dwindle and the sheriff departments expenses continue to increase, particularly heath care for inmates.
Tax breaks OK’d
Council members approved two tax abatements for Britton Marketing & Design Group and Great Dane Realty.
Britton Marketing & Design Group is currently located at 1415 Coliseum Blvd. W., but plans to move to 12420 Stonebridge Drive, Roanoke, across from Vera Bradley.
The design firm would lease the building from Great Dane Realty.
Council members agreed on a 10-year abatement on a $3.2 million investment for the 20,000-square-foot building and a five-year abatement on $200,000 worth of equipment.
The company will retain its 20 employees, and plan to hire 27 more, said Nicole Liter, an Allen County economic development specialist.
New full-time positions will include art directors, graphic and Web designers, sales representatives, writers and customer service representatives, according to the abatement application.
The tax phase-in will save the company about $315,000 on the property and $5,500 on the equipment, Liter said.