News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

October 12, 2012

Public raises questions, concerns on 2013 Terre Haute budget

TERRE HAUTE — As a vote on Terre Haute’s 2013 budget nears later this month, more questions are being raised about the city’s financial health.

Members of the public and city officials discussed next year’s budget at a public hearing Thursday night in City Hall at a special meeting of the City Council. In recent years, such hearings have been uneventful, but this time some members of the public raised questions and concerns.

Earl Elliott, a longtime Terre Haute certified public accountant, spoke at the hearing saying he was concerned about the city’s critical “general fund” balance, which started the year $4.5 million in the red.

Based on state audits and financial reports, Elliott said the general fund balance declined by almost $9.4 million from 2009 through 2011. That fund pays for the city’s day-to-day expenses, such as many employee salaries.

To balance the city’s general fund budget, Mayor Duke Bennett said he has prepared a series of “options,” including a new fee for picking up trash, limbs and leaves. He has been meeting privately with City Council members about this and other options in recent weeks.

“I wonder what the projected general fund balance on Dec. 31, 2012, will be if none of the to-be-presented options are approved,” Elliott said at the meeting.

Asked by a member of the Terre Haute Fire Department if the “trash fee” is needed to avoid layoffs, Bennett said they could be.

“If we don’t put a fee in, the next year we’ll have to make some additional [budget] cuts,” Bennett said at the hearing. “That may be some layoffs, but the preference would be to have layoffs everywhere except [in the fire and police departments],” he said.

Bennett also expressed frustration about the city’s revenue losses in the past few years due to Indiana’s new property tax caps.

“Nobody ever talks about the loss of revenue we’ve had,” he said. The city has lost about $6.7 million annually under the caps, he said. “We have navigated through this extremely well.”

n Also Thursday night, especially in view of the general fund shortfall, the nine-person City Council, which passes the city’s budget, voted unanimously to deny itself a 2 percent pay increases in 2013. All other city employees, including the mayor and other elected officials, will receive a 2 percent raise next year.

Members of the council receive a salary of $14,166 not including benefits. Their vote saved the city – in total – just less than $3,000.

Increasing city employee salaries by 2 percent next year will add about $568,000 in new expenses in 2013, said Leslie Ellis, city controller. That’s less than the $1 million previously estimated.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Pope's Relic on Wheels Departs to Rome Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line
NDN Video
Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video Miley Cyrus Hospitalized After Severe Reaction To Medicine Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Toddler climbs into vending machine 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity