Mayor amends city budget

Changes made to avoid local, state, federal regulation violations

City Council has 10 days to review the amendments and decide to accept or override Muncie Mayor Sharon McShurley's amendments made Monday to the proposed budget.

McShurley said most of her vetoes were made to protect the city from violating local, state and federal regulations, and not for the purpose of saving money.

"My first concern was how it would affect the city," she said. "We don't have the luxury of reserving money."

City Council member Linda Gregory said the fiscal budget has to undergo a series of revisions before it is finalized. McShurley first proposed the budget to City Council in early August. City Council reviewed it and presented a revised version to the mayor on Nov. 2. Gregory said the mayor had a window of 10 days to accept, veto or amend the budget.

The city operates on an overall budget of $40 million, but the budget for the general fund is $24 million, Shurley said. She said the city is losing money due to property tax cuts and the loss of industry.

"Our industrial base is gone," McShurley said. "We're losing $5 million this year."

Gregory said the city needs to reduce last year's budget by $3.4 million to accommodate the property tax cap. She said McShurley's original proposal put the budget within $1.4 million of their reduction goal, and after receiving final insurance quotes Oct. 30, the budget was lowered another $1.5 million. Gregory said the budget devotes about $7 million to insurance matters and the vast majority of that falls under the Public Safety department since it has the most employees.

City Council approved the budget with a vote of seven to two. Gregory and District Four representative Brad Polk voted against it.

"I voted against the original budget because I thought the cuts proposed by [City Council Vice President Sam] Marshall were not in the best interest of the city," Gregory said.

She thought the council didn't pay enough consideration to McShurley's insurance recommendations, she said.

McShurley's amendments, also called line vetos, dealt with employment, economic development and feasibility. She said the accounting division's proposal to eliminate the position of payroll clerk was a violation of the federal Fair Labor Act; reducing electricity for street lights hindered economic development and safety; and cutting the animal shelter's staff to one full-time employee didn't seem feasible.

City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at City Hall to discuss overriding the amendments. Gregory said she speculates the council will want to override all the vetos. This meeting is open to the public.

Muncie's general fund budget is $24 million

City Council had to lower the budget by $3.4 million to accommodate the property tax cap

The process--
Mayor Sharon McShurley proposed a budget to the City Council in early August

City Council reviewed it and presented a revised version of the budget to McShurley on Nov. 2

The mayor had 10 days to veto or amend the budget. She presented line vetos to the City Council on Nov. 9.

City Council now has 10 days to override the vetos.

Voice your opinion--
City Council meeting
5:30 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 13
City Hall
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the proposed budget, and it is open to the public.



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