DYER | It was time for tough talk about money when the Town Council met recently at a special work session to begin a review of the proposed 2013 budget.
“We’re going to have to make some difficult decisions,” Town Council President Jeff Dekker said.
The town has been operating at 2012 prices on a budget comparable to the money it had in 2005, officials said.
When the Lake County Council declined to adopt an income tax, tax levies were frozen at a level that gives county communities little room for error. The situation will not be any better in 2013, Dekker said.
The town will be asking for a $3.9 million budget in 2013. The budget will first go to a public hearing and then will be sent to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance for approval.
The bulk of that money would go to the general fund, which covers salaries and benefits.
The town's stormwater, water and sanitary departments collect monthly fees, and some of that revenue could be used for partial salary payments. But such reliance on utility revenue would put a strain on the projects the utility boards seek to accomplish, Town Attorney Bill Enslen said.
Enslen also said the Town Council should be willing to allow boards to raise utility rates if it expects to make greater use of the revenue.
Councilwoman Mary Tanis said she would be unwilling to vote for any utility increase in 2013.