Indiana's million dollar mishap brings new problem
After Indiana's latest money mishap, each county in the state was shortchanged $205 million. It was money county leaders across the state cut from their budget – with layoffs, attrition. Some even borrowed.
"There are some counties in desperate shape," said Pete Mullen, St. Joseph County's auditor.
After the state told Mullen on Friday, oops, we've got too much of YOUR money in OUR piggy bank, Mullen said the money was transferred into the county's account.
When he was ready to distribute it to the county and local governments, the public libraries, South Bend Regional Airport, Transpo, and South Bend's Redevelopment Department, Mullen checked his numbers and saw the state gave him instructions on how to spend $9.5 million, but no word on what to do with the other $3 million.
"We have it in the bank, what am I supposed to do with the other $3 million?" asked Mullen. "I made a call – they said ‘Oh my gosh.’"
As of Thursday, still no word on what to do with the coin.
"I don't think that was addressed when they found out the problem," said Mullen. "But they will tell us how to do it. Hopefully in the next 30 days.”
Distributing the money won't be easy. Mullen said there are a lot of questions. For example, if a former St. Joseph County homeowner who lived in South Bend sold their house in 2011 and moved all the way to Evansville, what happens if the state issues a property tax credit with the $3 million?
Does the state give the credit to the person who lives in the house now?
How does the state find the previous owner?
Mullen said that's what state leaders are trying to figure out. He said it won't be easy.