Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Truth Reports Goshen Releases 2014 Budget

From the Elkhart Truth:

The city released its 2014 budget information Monday, Sept. 16 as it prepares for budget hearings next month.

A letter from Mayor Allan Kauffman accompanied the budget information highlighting several areas of significant changes from 2013 to 2014, as well as explanations for those differences.

Kauffman also explained in the letter that the Chamber of Commerce had assembled a task force of Chamber members, community members and City Council members Jim McKee, Jeremy Stutsman and Brett Weddell to examine the city's finances and learn about services provided by the various departments and what needs they have.

Included with the budget information was the Chamber's position paper that concluded Goshen has a revenue problem, not a spending one.

The task force set up by the Chamber noted that it would like to see services continued at the level residents are used to and included some recommendations to enhance revenue.

Some of those recommendations included a continued effort to emphasize efficiency in operations; a search for new revenue opportunities such as increased use of user fees to cover services where practical, a one-percent local food and beverage tax if the state allows and the possibility of an “environmental” or trash removal, user fee; lobbying representatives to pass two local option income taxes; and to consider annexation as part of future tax revenues.

In his letter, Kauffman explained the 2014 budget as it stands is a funded budget, not a balanced budget.

That means there is enough money on hand in operating balances to meet the city's expenditures for 2014, but that those expenditures will likely exceed the revenues anticipated for 2014.