By Sophie Pappas
“These are mostly identical,” said Zionsville Town Manager Ed Mitro about the two new town budgets presented during the Oct. 6 Zionsville Town Council meeting.
Identical, but different, depending on whether or not the residents of Zionsville were to vote in favor of the reorganization with Perry Township in the November elections. However, since the Oct. 7 ruling of Boone County Judge Rebecca McClure stating that the reorganization would not be legal, town officials are focused on rounding out the budget regardless.
The reorganization, which would have been on the November ballot, would increase the 2015 budget, but not as much as people would think, according to Mitro.
“The [Depart. Of Local Government Finance] has mandated that we prepare two budgets, one that would assume the reorganization is passed and one that would assume the reorganization is not passed,” Mitro told the council. “Both of the budgets are essentially balanced and I’m very pleased to see that…and there are really only a couple changes between the two budgets. The budgets are essentially equal.”
If the reorganization with Perry Township were to pass, then an interim mayor would be selected from the Zionsville Town Council. This person would earn $10,000 during their year as interim mayor and assume this role beginning in January. Following this interim year, a full-time mayor would be elected. At that time, in 2016, the elected mayor is expected to earn slightly more than $100,000, but this is not included in the 2015 budget.
Other items that would be added to the budget are $2,000 in additional poor relief funds, to offer aide to Perry Township residents, $1,000 for the Zionsville Dept. of Parks and Recreation to maintain the lawn at the Perry Township Cemetery, and $75,000 to enter into a contract with the Perry Township Fire Dept.
“Those are the only major changes between the two budgets,” Mitro said.
Mitro said that at the start of the budget work sessions in July, the budgets were more than $1.5 million out of balance.
“The council went back and asked the staff to come as near as we could to a balanced budget,” he said. “[Town staff members] subsequently did do that, and large cuts were made. Large projects were removed from that budget.”
Mitro said that now since the budget is balanced, several new staff members were hired to work for the town, including an administrative assistant who will work alongside the interim mayor, an additional street department assistant, and a new police officer.
“Now I can say that the budgets were largely held flat,” he said.
To view the budgets presented for 2015, visit www.zionsville-in.gov.