SOUTH WHITLEY – After last meeting’s tense conversation over budget numbers, South Whitley’s Town Council convened once again to sort through town funds and appropriations.
Lending her expertise to the topic was Retha Hicks from HR Unlimited. Hicks was contracted to help Clerk-Treasurer Bob Gould reconcile bank statements and budget line items.
Hicks confirmed that the budget reflected an additional $160,000 for 2012 that was not actually given to the town to spend.
That error was made known at the last council meeting, but how the mistake happened has not been determined.
Town Manager Dave Wilkinson assured the board that the recently approved 2013 budget was based on correct numbers. Gould and Wilkinson worked together to establish the 2013 budget. According to Wilkinson, the pair used the amount of funds spent in each category in 2012 to determine the budget for 2013.
“The budget submitted is covered, but there is no extra,” said Wilkinson. “We can ask for additional appropriations. That would come from prior tax dollars from previous years.”
But it was the here and now that Council President Tony Starkey was most concerned with. Starkey asked Gould if there was enough appropriations to get through to the end of December.
“Yes, but it’s going to upset some of the people here,” Gould said referring to members of the Park Board present at the council meeting.
“Some people over spent to the amount of $40,000. I had to take money from the Park Board to balance out the budget,” Gould said.
The town has a “rainy day” fund that acted as additional monies for expenses and overages. However, when the council approved the purchase of a new vehicle, that line item was reduced almost in its entirety.
“You asked if we can afford the car and I said yes,” Gould said. “It was not budgeted, so I used the rainy day fund. That took all of the that fund.”
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