By ELIZABETH BEILIMAN
Some historic belt-tightening is in order for the town of Sellersburg this year.
Officials announced Monday at the town council meeting that the state Department of Local Government Finance slashed $474,205 from the town’s proposed budget, reducing it to about $2.7 million — the biggest budget cut in recent memory.
“We have to be very diligent in how we spend money this year,” Town Council President Paul Rhodes said.
The clerk-treasurer’s office believes if it submits a request for additional funds, the town can recover $237,726, Rhodes said.
Additionally, $100,00 may be recovered by moving money around in local roads and streets and paving funds, leaving a shortfall of $137,726.
“We’ll keep our fingers crossed,” Clerk-Treasurer David Kinder said.
He said when the council submits its budget to the DLGF, it’s all guesswork. The DLGF then uses a formula to determine how much the town can actually use.
“It’s just a bad deal,” Kinder said.
Budget cuts affect how much money departments, such as street and sanitation, can spend that year.
Projects relating to law enforcement, such as repairs to be made soon to the Sellersburg Police Department building, will be covered by money generated from local option income tax funds instead of the town’s budget.
The building will need around $54,000 to take care of leak problems. The council voted unanimously to cover $32,821 worth of repairs to the roof and drainage system on the roof with rainy day funds. Badgett Construction will be in charge of repairs.
Eventually, the town will have to pay $7,570 to repair the inside of the building, including the drywall and ceiling and two upstairs rooms, as well as paying $13,412 to have professionals make assessments on the exterior to ensure there will be no more leaking.
The council decided to stagger money used for the building’s repair in an effort to save money.
Rhodes said $13,000 per month is poured into public safety funds, so it makes the most sense to turn to that pool of money when possible.
No immediate decisions were made at the meeting regarding other budget matters. The council should know in a few months how much money cut from its proposed budget can be recovered.
“Until then, we’re going to spend money very conservatively,” Rhodes said.
Next year could see even more budget woes.
“We expect there will be an even greater shortage next year with tax money,” he said.