TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The Terre Haute city council met this week with the mayor and department leaders to talk money.
Terre Haute openly battles budget concerns and this year, the council is being proactive. Now, the budget process is lengthy and can be complicated.
"It's very detailed, cumbersome and long process that we go through,” said Duke Bennett, mayor of Terre Haute.
The budget process is complicated, but one that's important to the health of the city.
The whole budget process takes over a year and a half.
And with recent budget concerns, the mayor and the city council want to make sure they're keeping it tight.
"We work with all the department heads. We do zero-based budgeting here so we make them go back to zero on every line item, every year and prove to us you need every penny that we put in the budget,” said Mayor Bennett.
"It thought that it was important this year that every councilman have an opportunity to see what each dept head is doing, so there's no finger pointing, they’re able to ask questions about where money's being spent,” said Norm Loudermilk, Terre Haute city council.
Each department has the opportunity to explain their reasons for how the budget breaks down.
"Where the revenue's coming from? Why are you spending this money? You kind of work through that,” said Mayor Bennett.
"Better understand what they're going through. Ask questions. Not wonder about what they're spending,” said Loudermilk.
The city has about 80 different funds to keep track of.
Mayor Bennett said all are going great. The only concern is the General Fund.
"You kind of have to keep closing the gap. You bring the expenses down and find new revenues to bridge that gap,” said Mayor Bennett.
But Mayor Bennett is still confident in the city's renewed financial health from last year.
"We're not in trouble. We're going through a period of time where we're adjusting to these new tax caps and we need some new revenue to supplement that. We don't need 9 million, we need a couple of million,” said Mayor Bennett.
This process gives everyone a chance to discuss solutions and how to save money, an important goal for the entire city.
"Trying to make sure we manage and keep people receiving the same type of good service they're used to and try also to keep the taxes low,” said Loudermilk.
The next step is the budget hearing. That's where the budget is approved.
We'll keep you updated on this process.
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