Your County Council
The Monroe County Council is made up of seven councilors: three are elected "At-Large" and represent the whole county, while the other four councilors represent districts within the county (see: www.co.monroe.in.us/tsd/Government/Council.aspx). Councilors annually elect one of the members to serve as President, and another as President Pro Tempore (Vice-President).
Councilors serve four-year terms, with elections for the At-Large and district positions held on an alternating two-year cycle, in order to provide continuity of service and experience on the council. 2020 is the year to elect the three At-Large positions.
The Monroe County Council has the responsibility of deciding the county's annual budget and making appropriations to fund all county services (except those covered by grants and fees). The council also has the authority to borrow money. Based on budget decisions (and any debt service), the council sets the annual tax levy. Your actual tax rate depends on the levy and the assessed value of your property.
With tax reform, there are limits on how much the total county budget can be increased, and there are limits on how much money the county can borrow as well. In recent years the limits have been in the neighborhood of 3 percent, as stipulated by Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.
Budgeting is a challenge when the costs of doing the county's business rise. The cost for the provision of health care for employees has increased steadily. Other increases in expenses -- such as for supplies, fuel, or cost-of-living -- must be covered within the prescribed budget limits set by the state.
Once the annual budget is established, the property tax rate is calculated based on the total amount of assessed value for properties in the county. Commercial property and business equipment is also assessed. How much you will pay depends on the assessed value of your property. Decisions on budgets as well as property assessment affect tax rates.
Council members serve as liaisons to all the County's departments and hold positions on a number of important boards, commissions, and committees that make or recommend decisions about services for county residents.