City returns $3 million-plus to General Fund in 2018

By Joseph Slacian

The City of Wabash returned more than $3 million in unspent funds to the General Fund at the end of 2018.

With funds not spent by the various city departments, as well as tax caps that had to be figured into the budget, $3.296 million wasn’t spent, Mayor Scott Long told The Paper of Wabash County.

The state requires municipalities to figure into their budget funds to cover the difference between the projected amount of  property taxes available and the amount actually available because of various property tax caps.

“All department heads are cognizant of their budget and spending,” he said. “We anticipate expenditures and budget accordingly. Together we are consistently seeking ways to reduce operating expenses without sacrificing the quality of place for our citizens.”

A major savings came via an energy conservation plan adopted by the city that included the installation of energy-efficient lighting.

“All the buildings have been retrofitted with LEDs to include the exterior lighting at the parks,” Long said.

The change resulted in more than $10,000 in savings.

“That $10,000 figure was just on the downtown streetlights,” Long said. “I haven’t dived into it to see, but I’m sure it’s probably more than that. That was just the average of those downtown street lights.”

Savings also were realized through the city’s health care costs, and there is less than a 1 percent increase in those fees expected this year.

The majority of the money returned goes back to the city’s general fund allow Clerk-Treasurer Wendy Frazier to invest more money and save for the future.

“The budgetary process can be very challenging and sometimes difficult to achieve,” she said. “The collaboration, knowledge and frugal spending truly helps Mayor Long and me achieve the city’s goal. Taxpayers first.”

The city has at least two projects which will call for expenses of more than $100,000.

Those projects include work on cleaning up the former GDX Automotive location – the city has budgeted $250,000 from its Rainy Day Fund and another $250,000 from its CEDIT Brownfield Fund for the work – and providing matching funds for a grant the city received to build an overpass of the Norfolk Southern railroad track.

The city received an $8.56 million grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation for the overpass project. As part of its match, the city must provide $2.2 million, some of which will be paid by Norfolk Southern.

Long told The Paper in December that he expected the city’s portion of the grant to come from a variety of funds, including the Rainy Day and Stormwater funds.

Posted on 2019 Feb 05