My name is Anton Karl Neff and I represent District Two on the Owen County Council. Since taking office, I have worked hard to represent the district and Owen County. A conservative approach to budgeting has helped us stay afloat despite continued revenue and expense pressures on local government. Owen County is very fortunate to have little debt and healthy cash balances in many of our funds. We also have an on-time budgeting and tax process. With many economic and state regulation pressures, we have to continually monitor our county's budget status. I support decisions and policies that promote efficiency in government and long-term financial planning. We always need to find the right balance of providing effective services while maintaining our investment in our county government workforce at an efficient and reasonable cost to our taxpayers.
I hope that you find my website useful in finding out more about me and how to contact me. Your suggestions are always welcome. Most important, I want to hear your ideas and concerns regarding Owen County's local government. If I do not have an answer for your question, I will either find an answer or find a resource for you to get an answer. Open communication is very important to me. Thanks for visiting!
- Written by Anton K Neff
OWEN COUNTY LOCAL INCOME TAX
Did you know? During a certain number of hours each day, the Owen County Sheriff's Department operates with an inadequate staffing level of jailers and dispatchers. It's been a concern for years. Additional staffing needed to fix the problem has been requested by our current and past Sheriffs but, we have unfortunately not had access to the resources to fund it. In addition, we have funding deficits for our central dispatch operations in general, and courthouse security, that may need attention soon.
Just this year, the Governor signed into law several changes to the Local Income Tax (LIT) code for all Indiana counties, effective July 1, 2016. Among those changes, counties now have the option of increasing their LIT rate to raise new revenue. Public safety is one of the allowable purposes.
Over the next couple months, the council will be evaluating the latest revenue projections available and formulate budgets. We are hopeful that normal growth in existing revenue sources, as well as the fine-tuning of final staff configurations, will shrink the overall amount needed. I cannot speak for the six council members that serve with me, but I’m sure they would agree that before increasing any tax rate to generate new revenue, we should exhaust all other ways to develop acceptable budgets within the current confines of existing tax revenue sources. That includes cuts from other areas, taking advantage of any updated revenue capacity, and/or a phase-in over two or three budget years, to name some examples.
Owen County's LIT rate is currently at 1.3%. It is estimated that up to $269,052.15 in funding is needed. As of now, with no other offsets or changes in existing revenue, the possible LIT rate range that matches up to that amount is between 1.37% and 1.4%. For a taxpayer earning $15/hour, a 1.37% rate would cost one additional penny per hour. For a taxpayer earning $30/hour, a rate of 1.37% would cost two additional pennies, and so on. Although we’re talking pennies, there is no amount too small that should preempt the public’s opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions. I welcome, encourage, and expect it.
Here is a link to detailed tax impact data by rate and household taxable income:
Please take a few moments to let me know your thoughts relating to this subject. Here are some example questions I am interested in getting feedback on:
1) Is adequate staffing of jailers and dispatchers of importance to you? To the county as a whole?
2) Are you generally supportive or opposed to the county council considering all options concerning the issues at hand?
3) If a rate change is made, do you consider a change from 1.3% to a new rate between 1.37% and 1.4% to be reasonable or unreasonable?
4) Are you generally supportive or opposed to adjusting the LIT by a small amount in order to address the concerns with jail and dispatch staffing?
5) What alternatives do you propose that can help us avoid changing the LIT rate?
6) Is there anything I can get for you in terms of additional information, or anything that needs further explanation?
Feel free to ask any follow up questions you may have. Thank you in advance for your time.
- Written by Anton K Neff
OWEN COUNTY GOVERNMENT'S 2016 BUDGETS APPROVED
We are very happy to announce that our 2016 budgets have been approved by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. This is a result of the collective work of all of our department heads and elected officials. From the initial estimation and advertisement process, to early review, to only one final adjustment, then final action, we submitted our figures based on the best balance of continuing valuable county services and maintaining good financial health.
Use this link to the Taxpayer Resources Section of this website to view all county departments' and offices' budgets:
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
- Written by Anton K Neff
OWEN COUNTY COUNCIL BASICS - 2016
Hello! I'm Anton Neff and I am the District Two member of the Owen County Council. Last night (January 11th), the Owen County Council conducted its first meeting of 2016. Enclosed is information you may find helpful when you have questions about Owen County government or need assistance throughout the coming year.
WHAT IS THE OWEN COUNTY COUNCIL?
It is a seven member board consisting of four members elected from districts and three elected county wide. The Council reviews and sets county operating budgets, sets certain tax rates, establishes compensation for county employees, appropriates public funds, and has the ability to secure financing for county government projects. The Council also makes appointments to several local boards and committees.
WHO IS, AND HOW DO I REACH MY DISTRICT'S COUNCIL MEMBER?
Anton Karl Neff
Owen County Councilman, District 2
306 N Park Ave
Spencer, IN 47460
(812) 829-4254 Home
IS THERE A WEBSITE FOR DISTRICT TWO AND OWEN COUNTY GOVERNMENT?
Yes--there are official websites for both.
District Two: http://www.antonkarlneff.com
On this website, you will find:
-A schedule of upcoming meetings
-Minutes to meetings for the County Council, County Commissioners, County Plan Commission & Board of Zoning Appeals, and the Owen Valley Fire Territory
-County office telephone numbers
-Links to Owen County businesses, churches, organizations, local utility companies, media, recreational facilities, and other governmental entities.
-Occasional surveys and information on certain issues
-Taxpayer resources and tax analysis
Owen County Government: http://www.owencounty.in.gov/
On this website, you will find:
-County Departments' information
-Meeting minutes files
-Notices & alerts
-Forms and publications
-County staff contact information
IS THERE A DISTRICT TWO FACEBOOK PAGE?
Yes--please visit that page and "Like" it to stay connected with local information:
WHO ARE ALL OF THE MEMBERS OF THE OWEN COUNTY COUNCIL?
Jennifer Abrell, At-Large member (Vice President)
Irma Jean Franklin, At-Large member
Andy Wood, At-Large member
Nick Robertson, District 1 member
Anton Karl Neff, District 2 member
Chuck Hess, District 3 member
Patty Steward, District 4 member (President)
WHEN DOES THE COUNTY COUNCIL HOLD PUBLIC MEETINGS?
Regular meetings and budget hearings are open to the public and you are invited!
Regular monthly meetings are held at the Owen County Courthouse on the 2nd floor on the second Monday of each month at 7:00 PM. The deadline to be a part of the meeting agenda regarding an issue relating to the County Council is the Monday prior to the meeting, at Noon. Regular monthly work sessions (a new feature for this year) are scheduled for the fourth Monday of each month at 7:00PM and will be used as needed. All agenda inquires can be directed to the Auditor at 829-5000.
Annual budget hearings are also held at the Courthouse and are usually conducted in early September.
Special meetings, additional work sessions, executive sessions, and committee meetings can also occur as needed and may be advertised on a per case basis in the Spencer Evening World.
WHAT ISSUES MAY I CONTACT MY COUNCIL MEMBER ABOUT?
Any issue relating to finances, budgets, compensation, funds, taxes, etc., as noted above. If you have a question that is outside the realm of the County Council's duties, I can still help point you in the right direction for assistance. Communication is a two-way street and I often contact folks in the District to ask for their opinions and insight on issues as well.
WHAT IS YOUR POLICY ON CONFIDENTIALITY?
I encourage open communication and in order to do so, I simply ask that people identify themselves. I do not respond to unsigned letters, anonymous calls, etc. If a person specifically requests that I keep their name confidential when I work to address an issue, I will honor that.
Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to working with you!
- Written by Anton K Neff
Indianapolis, Indiana — The Association of Indiana Counties (AIC) announced last week that Owen County Council Member Anton Karl Neff received the 2015 ‘Outstanding County Council Member’ award. This award recognizes his contributions made to county government throughout his years of public service.
The AIC presented the award during its annual conference, the state’s largest gathering of county officials. The four-day conference included an array of workshops and breakout sessions designed specifically for county officeholders. Officials met in LaPorte County along with representatives from public agencies and private entities. Conference topics addressed a variety of issues concerning local governments, including: public integrity and government ethics, the future of road funding, the impact of new public construction wage law, internal control systems, and much more. The AIC is a nonprofit organization established in 1957 for the betterment of county government. The various functions of the AIC include lobbying the Indiana General Assembly on behalf of counties, serving as liaison among counties, state and federal agencies as well as providing technical assistance and training to county officials and employees.
“This is a huge honor for me. I feel that this is an even greater honor for all of Owen County. The spotlight is truly on us--something positive for Owen County, both within and beyond our boundaries. That makes me proud.” Neff commented.
Neff is a 13-year member of the council, recently re-elected to serve a fourth term representing District Two. District Two includes all of Washington Township and the Town of Spencer. Some of the most notable Owen County Government projects of which he has had a major role include: The research, design, and development of a new comprehensive compensation structure for all county government employees; Creating and maintaining social media and Internet resources for sharing local government information; Development of a master road inventory and scoring matrix for the Highway Department to objectively prioritize projects and estimate costs; Assisting the Sheriff’s Department in a budget reorganization which added two additional deputy officers; The partnership with the Town of Spencer to have a unified county-town building and planning department; Twelve years of service as the Council’s appointment to the Owen County Plan Commission, three as President; Encouraging public input, education, and pursuit of additional highway department resources concerning adjustments to the Local Option Highway User Tax (LOHUT); The research, development, and support of Owen County’s Outdoor Emergency Warning System; and, The pursuit of a vehicle rotation for the Owen County Emergency Medical Service and Sheriff’s Department, which eliminated multiple lease-financing agreements and allowed the county to consolidate resources in order to purchase vehicles in full to avoid finance costs.
He said, “I have enjoyed working on these projects. Many of them took team work--cooperation among different officials and other entities--to be successful. I am thankful for my fellow elected officials, our staff, and partnering agencies for their hard work and service.”
Neff currently serves on the Owen County Council Wages & Salaries Committee, County Commissioners Basement & Storage Committee, and Community Corrections Advisory Board. He is also Council liaison to Highway Department, Circuit Court, Commissioner Court, Drug Court, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program, Public Defender Office, Community Corrections, and Probation.
He continued, “Although committee and project work keeps me tuned to many departments, nothing compares to the opportunities I have had to be side-by-side with many of our county employees. Whether it is shadowing in an office, riding with our Highway Department during snow removal, or observing with our Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Medical Service, those are all valuable learning experiences. It helps me understand their daily operations and helps me better connect our services with the public.”
Neff has made local government contributions beyond Owen County by being active with the Association of Indiana Counties. He has served on their Scholarship Committee and has moderated workshops at their annual conferences. He is currently serving a second annual term on their Legislative Committee. He joins fifteen other county officials on the committee from a variety of positions with a variety of backgrounds. The committee is charged with preparing and presenting the association's legislative platform to the board of directors each fall at their annual conference. Additionally, the committee considers all legislation affecting county government and makes recommendations for action to the board. Legislative issues concern subjects like E 9-1-1 funding, criminal justice reform, the budget review process, economic development, road funding, federal and state mandates, taxes, and assessments. Members will work closely with AIC staff and Indiana State Legislators during the general assembly session.
He added, “Many aspects of county government are greatly impacted by what our state legislature does. Work outside of our borders helps give Owen County a ‘seat at the table’ when it comes to providing first-hand examples to our legislators so that they can thoroughly understand how current, proposed, and in-process legislation impacts us. We benefit because I am able to share the latest information concerning these issues first-hand with fellow officials here.”
Neff is also currently pursing certification in the AIC’s ‘Institute for Excellence in County Government’, a voluntary continuing education program concerning local government. “Whether the subject is finances, ethics, legislative issues, or human resources, this greatly broadens my knowledge.” he added.
“Receiving the honor of being named the AIC’s 2015 ‘Outstanding County Council Member’ is the biggest award I have received in my lifetime. I am truly humbled and very appreciative of this. My work in public service is something I simply enjoy doing.” Neff said.