Mayor Emily Styron introduced a proposal for Zionsville’s 2023 budget during a Sept. 22 budget workshop.
Styron stated that the town is ending 2022 with more than $57 million in fund balance, which is greater than the starting fund balance in 2020. The initial draft of the 2023 budget accounts for an anticipated $34,525,806 in revenue and $41,569,569 in expenditures.
“This proposed budget allows us to maintain our healthy general fund balance and create an operationally sustainable budget, with a focus on capital expenditures that we have long saved for,” Styron said.
A review of the proposed budget was scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 3 at the next Town Council meeting. A public hearing and final adoption of the proposed budget will occur 8 a.m. Oct. 17.
To meet state deadlines, the budget must be adopted by Nov. 1.
According to the proposal, 55 percent of the budget would go toward public safety.
The budget allots for an increase of $5 million for police and fire, including the hiring of five additional police officers, which would provide three additional officers for schools and two for field patrol.
Zionsville Police Dept. Chief Michael Spears said that with the 160 percent increase in Zionsville’s population from 2010 to 2020, and a projected increase in growth, the police department aims to maintain security in the schools without reducing presence in the community.
The proposal also accounted for the hiring of three additional firefighters but does not consider the $1.6 million Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) SAFER grant recently awarded to the Zionsville Fire Dept. that will fully fund salaries and benefits for six firefighters over three years, allowing for the department to meet operational safety standards.
Styron’s proposed budget also included the following expenses for 2023:
- One position for the finance department
- One position for the planning department
- Three positions for the Department of Public Works
- Construction of a new roundabout at Oak St. and CR 800 E
- Conducting initial planning and design for a public safety building
- Replacing or purchasing critical public works equipment
- Financing the construction and/or planning of multiple pathway projects
- construction of new salt barn, downtown planters, and wayfinding signage in coordination with Parks Dept.
- Replacing expiring police equipment, as well as purchasing additional equipment and vehicles for new officers
- Replacing dated fire equipment and vehicles, and purchasing equipment for new firefighters
The proposal also includes an allotment of funds that will provide a 4 percent cost of living increase for town personnel. Styron said this “will not keep up with inflation but will keep up with the maximum amount of dollars available to put aside for staff.”
Town Council president Jason Plunkett said he was pleased with the discussion at the budget meeting.
“It was good to see the high level budget details, and for councilors to share the needs of our constituents,” Plunkett said. “I’m hopeful that the needs of our districts will be included as we move the budget process forward.”