Marion County residents should not see a tax hike in 2017, based on the new, $13.2 million budget approved on Jan. 17 by the County Commission at the courthouse in Palmyra.

Marion County residents should not see a tax hike in 2017, based on the new, $13.2 million budget approved on Jan. 17 by the County Commission at the courthouse in Palmyra.

Based on the budget message of Valerie Dornberger, county clerk and budget officer for Marion County, the “county is not anticipating a tax increase again this year for either the General Revenue or The Road and Bridge Fund.”

The lack of need for a tax hike is evidence that the post-recession economy in Marion County is “running on all cylinders,” according to Presiding Commissioner Lyndon Bode.

While the local economy is strong, Bode noted that when drafting this year’s budget a “conservative” revenue outlook was taken.

“There is a potential for (revenue) growth,” said Bode.

Among those benefitting from the revived economy are the county’s hourly employees, who for the second consecutive year received a $1 per hour raise. In 2015 county personnel were given a raise of 95 cents per hour.

According to Bode, the latest raise rewards long-time county employees who “hung in there with us” through lean years when no raises could be given.

“It was nice to be able to give a raise,” added Western District Commissioner Steve Begley.

Money is included in the 2017 budget to begin the construction of two new bridges — Bear Creek Bridge on County Road 423 and the Wenneker Bridge on County Road 104. Also planned this year is the extension of County Road 266 to Business 61.

The Highway Department is going to be buying a tandem truck, backhoe and pickup.

Sheriff Jimmy Shinn has money budgeted for body cameras for all patrol officers.

If there is an area of concern in the budget it has to do with the declining revenue being collected as reimbursements for the housing of prisoners in the county jail. According to Dornberger the situation is being monitored.

Eastern District Commissioner Larry Welch said finding ways to increase revenue at the jail is a priority in 2017.

Welch added that coming up with a budget was not hard because of the spirit of cooperation that exists at the county’s two courthouses.

“No one asked for anything out of line,” he said.

For Begley, it was his first time through the budget process as a commissioner.

“It was interesting working with all the departments,” he said. “I think it will be a good year.”

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com