MUNCIE, Ind., — For the first time in two years the city of Muncie has passed a budget for 2021. This comes after city council failed to agree and approve a budget for 2020, forcing them to continue operating out of the 2019 budget which was passed back in 2018.
A new budget of 51 million dollars has been approved and it’s much lower than the budgets passed in recent years.
“We’ve been able to put together procedures and policies that have really put our city moving forward,” said Mayor Dan Ridenour.
City Controller Trent Conway along with Mayor Ridenour says there was a lot of cost-cutting when it came to approving a new budget. But the main goal was to protect employees and prepare for 2022 shall there be any offset due to unreceived revenues.
“We want to retain all of the employees of the city, that was one of the Mayors biggest goals in this budget,” said City Controller Trent Conway.
The two were able to make that happen after transferring money and adjusting percentages within other accounts.
“We were able to put money into the emergency fund, so we have additional funds put back in the case of another COVID or some other situation comes up,” said Ridenour.
The city of Muncie started the year 2020 with 18 accounts overspent by 3.3 million dollars. In February, that was reduced to 16 accounts overspent by 2.8 million dollars.
“We have that down to where there is now only 10 negative accounts and we have it down to around 750, 760 thousand dollars in the negatives,” said Ridenour.
The negative accounts are reimbursement funds, meaning the money is spent then you’re reimbursed. But under former Mayor Dennis Tyler’s administration, some reimbursement forms had not been submitted since 2014. The biggest deficit that remains is the street department.
“Unfortunately, that account being so negative I think negatively impacts our ability to repair and pave new streets this year. But we’re hoping to get that corrected,” said Conway.
Right now, the city is working to file more reimbursement paperwork so they can continue to chisel at the negative accounts.
Conway who is the current city controller will be resigning in December. Craig Wright will take over the duties as city controller immediately after. And the new budget has allowed for a new deputy city controller, Toya Hyatt. The two are expected to be in their roles by the beginning of the year.