The St. Joseph County Council approved a $56.2 million budget for the county in 2016 during a meeting Tuesday night, Oct. 13.
The budget is about $4 million more than the 2015 budget. The increase includes $2.5 million to hire 29 new St. Joseph County Jail officers.
More than half of the budget will pay for public safety in the county, WSBT reported.
The budget was passed in a 6-3 vote along party lines, causing tension between Democrats who voted in favor of passing the budget and the dissenting Republicans, the South Bend Tribune reported.
Republican council member Mark Root expressed concern that the budget was too much for the county to sustain in the future, and that leaders should be concerned about how the impending reduction in property tax growth in 2018 and 2019 will impact St. Joseph County.
“It’s my opinion that this budget cannot pass without there being some massive tax hikes in the next couple of years to sustain it,” Root said.
Read more about Root’s concerns in the full story from the South Bend Tribune.