Duties of a Council Member

Functions: The functions of the Council include:

  1. The exclusive power of fixing the rate of taxation for county purposes and for all other purposes where the rate not fixed by law is required to be uniform throughout the county and impose the tax levy.
  2. The exclusive power of making appropriations to be paid out of the county treasury.
  3. The adoption of the annual budget after receiving estimates submitted by the various county agencies through the County Auditor, subject to the modification by the County Tax Adjustment Board and Department of Local Government Finance.
  4. The authorization of incurring county indebtedness within the constitutional limitations.
  5. The appropriation of additional funds in cases of emergency arising after the budget is adopted if approved by a two-thirds vote of Council members.
  6. The re-appropriation of surplus funds which might be surrendered by one department of county government in order that the funds might be made available to another department.
  7. The transferring of balances in dormant funds to the county general fund.
  8. The fixing of salaries of officers, deputies, assistants, and employees whose salaries are payable from any county fund, while observing legal minimums and with certain exceptions as provided by the statues granting this authority. County Councils have authority to fix the number of deputies, assistants and other employees whose salaries are payable from county funds.
  9. Levying taxes to provide funds for erecting new jails, and repairing, remodeling, and enlarging of old jails.
  10. Furnishing financial assistance to any community center for the mentally handicapped located in the county. For this purpose, a tax of 4 cents on each $100 of taxable property may be levied.

Approve Real Estate Sale. The sale of any real property of the county having an appraised value of $10,000 or more must be approved by the County Council, as must every lease of real property for which the total annual rental payments will be $3,000 or more.

Budget Estimate Form Required. The Board of Commissioners must submit its budget to the Council as follows:

  1. Expenses for each building or institution maintained or supported by the county, such as courthouse, county home, workhouse, jail, or other building or institution of whatever character, maintained or supported in whole or in part by money paid out of the county treasury.
  2. Amount required for building and repairing bridges, itemizing the same by giving location and cost of each bridge.
  3. Salary of the county attorney.
  4. Amount of salary or compensation of pauper attorneys, if any.
  5. Expenses of the County Board of Health.
  6. Amount for repair of roads, exclusive of bridges, itemized by location and the amount for each repair project.
  7. Amounts required for election expenses, showing estimated number of precincts, and by separate items, the amounts required for expenditure in each.
  8. Amounts required for paying principal and interest of bonds and loans maturing during the ensuing calendar year, itemizing the amount required for each loan and issue of bonds.
  9. Amount required to pay judgments, settlements, and costs.
  10. Expenses of supporting inmates of benevolent or penal institutions.
  11. Amounts required for publication of delinquent tax lists.
  12. Amounts required for the compensation of employees to be paid from the county.
  13. Amounts required for the payment of expenses of Property Tax Board of Appeals.
  14. An itemized list of all other expenditures to be made by the Board, or pursuant to its order, during the year for which the appropriation is to be made.
  15. Expenses of inmates to state institutions:
    1. Indiana Boys School and Indiana Girls School: Counties are required to pay one-half of the estimated cost of maintenance and care of inmates.
    2. Indiana State Farm: Upon discharge from the Indiana State Farm, the inmate shall be given transportation to the place of conviction or to any other place within the state the executive director of adult authority may designate. The law requires the superintendent of the Indiana State Farm to make out a claim against the county for all transportation advanced to discharged inmates.
    3. Persons Held for Safekeeping: Counties are required to pay a per diem cost, plus any outside medical care for temporary care of persons held in safekeeping while awaiting trial and sentencing by the court.
    4. State Psychiatric Hospitals: Present law states that mental illness may include, but shall not be limited to, any mental retardation, epilepsy, alcoholism, or addiction to narcotics or dangerous drugs.

      Under the provisions of the law, each patient in a psychiatric hospital of this state and the responsible relatives of the patient, individually or collectively, are liable for the payment of the cost of treatment and maintenance of such patient. No portion of the cost of treatment and maintenance for mental patients, alcoholics, or drug addicts in state mental institutions is to be paid by the county, except the clothing account which is to be paid by the county.
      1. The cost of any services ordered by the juvenile court for any child or his parent, guardian, or custodian and the cost of returning a child shall be paid by the county, and the county council shall provide sufficient funds to meet the court’s requirements.
      2. The parent or guardian of the estate of a child adjudicated a delinquent child or a child in need of services is financially responsible for any services ordered by the court unless:
        1. he is unable to pay for them;
        2. payment would force an unreasonable hardship on the family; or
        3. justice would not be served by ordering payment.
      3. The parent or guardian of the estate of any child returned to Indiana under the interstate compact on juveniles shall reimburse the county for all costs involved in returning the child, whether or not the child has been adjudicated a delinquent child or a child in need of services.
    5. Burial of patients of State Psychiatric Institutions: The responsibility of burial of deceased patients of state psychiatric (mental) hospitals is the duty of the superintendent of the institution. He shall deliver such bodies for burial in the following order:
      1. To a relative or authorized representative of a relative of the deceased making a claim for such body.
      2. To the Anatomical Board any bodies required to be buried at public expense, providing such persons did not die with small pox, diphtheria, or scarlet fever, and provided said Anatomical Board makes application therefore.
      3. To the trustee of the township in this state in which such deceased person had legal settlement, said bodies to be buried by the Township Trustee.
      4. Any bodies not disposed of under the foregoing classifications to be buried by the superintendent of the institution.

        It would be the responsibility of the Township Trustee under Classification 3 above to provide burial for such person and to pay the expense thereof from township poor relief funds. Likewise, in the event the body is claimed under Classification 1 and the family or relative claiming the body is without funds to provide a suitable burial, the trustee upon proper application being made for relief assistance and a finding of indigence may grant such assistance and provide for the burial thereof from poor relief funds.

        Under Classification 4, it is the responsibility of the county to reimburse the institution for the cost of burial.
    6. Institutions Under State Board of Health:
      1. School for Deaf and School for the Blind: For care of children in the School for the Deaf and the School for the Blind, tuition, board, room, laundry, and ordinary medical attention are provided by the school. Medical, optical, and dental care involving specialty care and special medication shall be provided by the parents, guardian, or other friends. Clothing and traveling expenses to and from the institution are also the responsibility of the parents. Upon the presentation of satisfactory evidence showing a child is entitled to the facilities of either school and the parents are unable to pay the expenses of maintaining the child at the school, the circuit court of jurisdiction, upon application by the County Department of Public Welfare, shall order the child sent to the school at the expense of the county to be paid from the County General Fund.
      2. Other Institutions: No charges are to be billed to or paid by the county for care at the Soldiers and Sailors Children’s Home in Knightstown, or the State Soldier’s Home in Lafayette.
    7. Transportation: Transportation to the state institutions upon commitment is the responsibility of the county. In most instances, the inmate will be transported by the county sheriff in a county-owned vehicle. However, in some instances, it is necessary to transport the patient in an ambulance, in which instance this would be an expense of the county.
    8. Private Institutions: None of the foregoing applies to commitments of persons by a court to private institutions. Also, it does not apply to persons placed by the County Department of Public Welfare in institutions.
  16. An itemized list of all other expenditures to be made by the board or pursuant to its order during the year for which the appropriation is to be made.
    • Borrowing Money. The County Council has the exclusive power to authorize the borrowing of money for the county, but the total amount of county indebtedness may not exceed an amount equaling two percent of the assessed valuation of the county, less the total of all mortgage exemptions.
    • County Council Appointments
    • Data Processing Board
    • Public Transportation Authority
    • Regional Plan Commission
    • Park and Recreation Board
    • County Plan Commission
    • Liquor Board
    • Tax Adjustment Board
    • City-County Building Authority Trustees
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