Zionsville Mayor Emily Styron presented a proposed 2022 budget she said invests in the town’s workforce to the Zionsville Town Council during two budget workshops and an Oct. 4 town council meeting, which the council unanimously introduced on first reading.
The council will meet again Oct. 18 to consider revisions to the proposed budget. It will need to be adopted on a second reading before Nov. 1 to meet state deadlines.
At the request of the town council, the proposed budget is balanced, meaning projected revenues slightly exceed projected expenses. In total, the town’s projected 2022 revenues are $32,587,219, and its projected 2022 expenses are $32,570,0253, Styron said.
The town’s 2022 revenues are expected to increase approximately 2 percent, which is less than what the town has seen in previous years, with the COVID-19 pandemic playing a large role in decreased local income tax distributions, the town’s second-highest revenue source, Styron said. Because of lagging revenue, Styron is recommending a “conservative approach” to this year’s budget process.
To meet the balanced budget request, the mayor left some projects that were not critical to the town’s operations unfunded and subject to a possible additional appropriation at a later date, which would need to be approved by the town council. The projects totaled $6.1 million and included requests for more personnel for the Zionsville Fire Dept.
“When I proposed the 2021 budget, I shared with you that we had a healthy fund balance that could be allocated toward future capital projects,” Styron told the council at the meeting. “These were planned projects, and money had been intentionally saved for these specific purposes. Rather than appropriating the fund balance through the normal annual budget process, this council preferred approving an operating budget that could be funded fully through incoming revenue sources and advised that capital projects would be reviewed through additional appropriation requests in the following year.
“Therefore, you will find a similar approach being proposed today.”
The proposed budget includes a 4 percent payroll increase for Town of Zionsville employees, which Zionsville CFO Tammy Havard said would meet the wage pressures of the current economy and accommodate “the greatest asset to the Town of Zionsville.” Last year, the administration presented a budget that included a proposed 3 percent payroll increase for town employees, but it was cut to 1 percent to balance the budget, which initially was presented with expenses exceeding revenues by more than $6 million.
The 2022 proposed budget also includes funds for the following, according to a media release:
- Leadership training and development
- Workplace wellness opportunities
- Diversity and inclusion initiatives
- Purchase and installation of pickleball courts
- Treatment of invasive plant species across the park system
- Study and update the Perry Township Land Use Plan
- Identify opportunities from the Zionsville Fire Department Strategic Plan
- Continue efforts to attain national accreditation for the Zionsville Police Department
- Investment in infrastructure
- A road resurfacing program
Additionally, for the first time, Zionsville is developing a sustainability plan to create a forward-looking budget. The town will look at revenue enhancement opportunities and form a finance committee to review those possibilities monthly. The committee will explore opportunities for additional revenue streams and review, update and create financial policies. Committee members include Styron, Zionsville Deputy Mayor Julie Johns-Cole, Town Councilor Bryan Traylor, Zionsville CFO Tammy Havard, Zionsville community member and Retail Banking Area Manager for STAR Bank Amanda Rubeck and the town’s financial consultant.