Unable to choose between cash reserves and economic development, Allen County Council Tuesday took a Solomonesque approach to funding its share of a $17 million emergency communications system:
It split the difference.
After agreeing on the source of $6.06 million, Council was $1 million short after a motion to take the money from a flood-control fund used for economic development deadlocked with three votes each. The tie was unusual for the seven-member Council but occurred because of the absence of Paul Moss – the second straight meeting from which he has been absent following his highly publicized traffic stop last month.
Although some Council members wanted to take $2.29 million from the county's rainy day fund for the project, others insisted on lowering that figure by $1 million by taking $1 million from the flood-control fund instead.
Some suggested the rainy day fund should be protected in order to meet unforeseen expenses, while others insisted funding for economic development should be protected in order to allow the county to move quickly should the chance to attract new jobs arise.
Leaving the economic development money in the Commissioners' hands, Council President Larry Brown said, would free the county from time constraints because Council meets only once a month and would have to approve funding not specifically earmarked for economic development.
A proposal to borrow the final $1 million was defeated because that would have eliminated a $40,000 credit for paying cash and would have required the payment of interest.
The deadlock was broken by a unanimous vote after Darren Vogt suggested taking $500,000 each from the flood-control and rainy day funds.
Most of the money spent by Council came from its $4.5 “windfall” in income taxes received from the state earlier this year.
City Council has approved its share of the project but has not identifgied specific sources of the funds.
The system is expected to be delivered by the end of the year.