The City of Brazil is working hard to ensure its proposed 2010 budget will work.
During Wednesday's special meeting, the Common Council of the City of Brazil discussed the current progress of finalizing the budget and options to alleviate some of the financial crunch the city will feel.
Dan Hedden, CPA Principal with Umbaugh and Associates, Indianapolis, told The Brazil Times approximately $169,000 has been cut out of the proposed 2010 budget to this point, along with another $150,000 or so out of the remaining 2009 budget.
"Right now, the city should have enough resources with the cuts and its existing cash balances to fund the 2010 proposed budget," Hedden told the council. "However, there are a few things that can be done to make things a little bit easier."
He explained there are four steps the city can take to relieve some of the financial strains that may come in 2010 due, in part, to the potential effect of the Circuit Breaker and property tax caps.
The things Hedden said the city could do included:
* Declaring surplus funds in the Cumulative Capital Development and Sanitation funds. This may be done through passing a resolution by the end of the year to place the surplus funds in a Rainy Day Fund, and Hedden said enough would be left over to cover the $80,000 needed for required sidewalk projects in 2010,
* Accept and absorb whatever cuts the state chooses to make on the proposed budget, which Hedden estimated to be in the $450,000-$500,000 range, as the state is reviewing budgets closer because of the Circuit Breaker effects,
* Pass an additional appropriation resolution early in 2010 to establish the Rainy Day Fund budget. Hedden told the council this should cover the cuts made by the state and potential shortfalls in the Motor Vehicle Highway, Cemetery and Parks funds for 2010, and
* Pay extra attention to the coding when entering claims to ensure the correct amounts are going in and coming out of the correct funds.
While Hedden said taking these steps should help the city during the 2010 budget year, 2011 could be a completely different story.
"It is quite possible the resources may not be available in 2011 unless a Local Option Income Tax is passed," Hedden said. "In all honesty, 2011 could be a brutal budget season."
The council did express comfort that no staffing and minimal service cuts had to be made, and they were still able to provide a 3 percent increase in pay for all city employees, excluding elected officials, who will not receive an income increase of any type.
However, Mayor Ann Bradshaw said the city should anticipate not being able to give pay increases 2011.
"We were lucky to be able to leave the salaries of elected officials the same and fit the pay raises for employees into the budget," she said. "But, it will be a real long shot to give raises next year, and it is looking more toward having a pay freeze."
Bradshaw also informed the council the staffing low at the Street Department, but the city is not looking into filling additional positions at this time.
"We're just going to have to try and get by with what we have right now," Bradshaw said.
The Common Council of the City of Brazil will conduct another special meeting at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6, in the Council Chambers at City Hall to discuss annexation, and will conduct its regular meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the same location. The public is welcome to attend both meetings.