By Ann Marie Shambaugh
With 2016 nearing its end, the Zionsville Town Council approved several resolutions Dec. 5 to shift funds to cover expenses not originally in the budget or that came in higher than expected during the year.
One resolution moves $140,000 from the general fund to cover an additional $100,000 for legal fees and $40,000 for engineering fees. Deputy Mayor Ed Mitro said that projecting legal expenses at the beginning of the year has long been a challenge for the town. He said that in 2015 the end-of-year request to cover legal fees was double the amount for this year.
“That which we have control of, we do a great job of holding the line,” Mitro said, “When we get into a lawsuit, if you are defending yourself, you pay what it costs to defend yourself.”
The town has never used an in-house attorney, but the council could consider hiring one to help stabilize legal expenses – to an extent.
“We’ve looked at doing that several times,” councilor Jeff Papa said. “The problem with that is when we get into all these specialized things, you’ll probably still have to get outside counsel. … I really thought for a long time that would save us money, but when we look at it we may not quite be there yet.”
The council also:
- Approved $30,100 to replace lights at the Municipal Services Building with LED bulbs. Zionsville Superintendent of Street and Stormwater Services Lance Lantz said the project should pay for itself in 20 months.
- Approved $283,066 from the general fund to make the first payment on the new Town Hall building. Additional payments are included in the 2017 budget.
- Approved transferring $100,000 from the Cumulative Capital Development Fund to the Park Non-Reverting Capital Fund. These funds had been set aside to help pay for a new Zion Nature Center, but with the project on hold indefinitely the Parks Dept. requested moving the money back to the department to potentially be used for its original purposes or be available if the nature center project moves forward soon.
- Approved a re-appropriation resolution moving funds within departments from line items with unspent funds to cover other areas.