The Department of Local Government Finance recently distributed its 1782 forms to all of Clay County's taxing districts. For the City of Brazil, budgets for each of the funds, except one was approved for 2009 as submitted.
"The Motor Vehicle Highway budget was cut $66,610," Brazil Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen told The Brazil Times. "The Street Department is the entity using that funds, and we had already cut that budget $50,000 to start the year."
Mayor Ann Bradshaw said the cuts have forced the city to make a few moves to hopefully stay under budget throughout the year.
"We were able to shift some people around into other positions within the city that had staffing needs," she said. "Some of the moves were voluntary on the employee's part, and we also had to cut a part-time position."
Bradshaw added while the city should still be in good shape, the cut may affect the ability to make necessary purchases later in the year.
"We should still be able to patch some potholes in the city and purchase sand and salt for the roads in winter," Bradshaw told The Brazil Times. "However, we may not be able to purchase as much as we are hoping to."
McQueen said this cut may just be the start of more to come.
"The state has been hinting at making more cuts to the Motor Vehicle Highway Fund next year, not just for us, but across the board," she said. "It will make things especially tough next year when we are anticipating approximately $140,000 less in property tax revenue due to the caps."
While the cut may put a hitch in the city's ability to get things done, McQueen said the departments have been preparing for potential shortfalls.
"We had many of our departments come in under budget last year," she said. "We tightened our belts a little bit and we are pretty much back on track financially to move forward with projects in the future."
She added the city is no longer in the red and is extremely proud of the fact that a Tax Anticipation Warrant (TAW) did not have to be taken out this year.
"The city has had to take out TAW loans in recent years to compensate for tax distribution being late with the property tax payments not being on time due to trending and reassessment issues," she said. "This was the first time in a long while the city has not had to take out the loan, and part of it goes back to us being very strict with budgets."
McQueen admitted it was not all the city's doing in getting finances back in order and property tax money on track.
"We are very fortunate to have (Clay County Auditor) Mary Jo Alumbaugh because she is very prompt in disbursing property tax funds to all the entities," she said. "I don't know exactly what they are doing, but whatever it is, they are doing it right."
Bradshaw added the city is still awaiting word from the state regarding potential funding which would help make up for the cut to the Motor Vehicle Highway Fund.
"We have yet to receive word on whether or not we will receive some stimulus money," Bradshaw said. "We put in a few street repair projects and hopefully we will be able to receive some funding to get those done."
The budget order for the City of Brazil and all other entities in Clay County for 2009 can be viewed at www.in.gov/dlgf/2612.htm.