(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Lawrenceburg City Council is spreading credit for the balancing of the city’s Riverboat Fund and Municipal Development Fund budgets in 2013.
On February 4, City Council voted unanimously to approve the budgets. Mayor Dennis Carr afterwards remarked that it was the first time he can remember the city passing a balanced budget for the two funds.
Lawrenceburg City Councilwoman Jane Pope issued a press release Thursday. It explains further how the city came to have the budgets that all could agree on at a time when council has been divided on many issues pertaining to city funds.
During one of those episodes between two factions of council in October, Carr vetoed the council majority’s general fund budget, which had passed on a 3-2 vote. The veto restricted the city’s spending to the amounts set in 2012, but that left a shortfall for 2013 pay raises city projects, and other expenditures.
By state law, Indiana cities cannot run deficits in the general fund. According to the council press release, Carr recommended the city council create an ordinance to appropriate money to budget Riverboat and MDF spending.
“As a business owner, I understand that you can’t spend more money than you make. As a City representative, it is my responsibility to make sure the City uses the same common sense,” Councilman Mike Lawrence said in the news release.
Following the February 4 Riverboat and MDF budget approval, Mayor Carr said in a press release of his own that the city needs to prepare to meet the challenge of declining gaming revenue by looking at costs and making cuts where possible, while still maintaining services to residents.
“I am pleased the mayor now shares my desire to rein in the spending, because prior to this press release, Mayor Carr did not share my wishes to balance the budget,” Lawrence said.
Council’s press release said the mayor and clerk-treasurer had submitted proposed budgets to local newspapers exhibiting $68.4 million in spending from the Riverboat and MDF funds in 2013 even through projected revenues were only $48 million.
Lawrence worked with the mayor’s assistant and Lawrenceburg Redevelopment Director Grant Hughes, as well as the Clerk-Treasurer’s office, to hash out a way to balance the budget, the council press release said. Hughes acted as a mediator between the clerk-treasurer and Lawrence over several meetings.
The produce of those meetings, the balanced budget proposal, was presented at a January 28 public hearing on the budgets. Modifications were made as council went through each of the budget’s line items.
The final numbers still projected revenues at $48 million, but the Riverboat budget was widdled to $21.8 million while the MDF was reduced to $20.3 million. After expenditures for the city’s riverboat revenue sharing agreement, the city is left with a projected surplus of over $200,000.