EAST CHICAGO | Slimmed-down city and school budgets for next year won preliminary City Council approval Monday, but more money still could be trimmed before final acceptance later this month.
The council's finance committee will continue its weekly public meetings to fine-tune budgetary items until the scheduled Oct. 22 vote, said Council President Gilda Orange, D-6th.
Mayor Anthony Copeland's recommended 2013 general fund budget stands at $25.8 million, a reduction of $4.8 million from this year's expenditures.
No more than $3 million in gaming revenue will be used to balance a projected shortfall in 2013 property tax collections, said council financial adviser Karl Cender.
Casino funds of $6 million were used to overcome this year's budget deficit, down from a peak of $13 million in 2010 and $8 million in 2011.
School officials also managed to post a budget request some $4.6 million less than was sought in 2012, trimming $2.6 million from funds derived from property taxes and $2 million in state-funded operations for a 2013 budget of $74 million.
The East Chicago Sanitary District cut $586,000 from this year's appropriation for a budget of $7.4 million next year.
Ultimate authority over just how much money all governmental units actually get to spend rests with the state Department of Local Government Finance, which adjusts local budgets to reflect the realities of property tax levies and estimated actual collections.
Council finance committee meetings will be held at noon today and on Oct. 18 at City Hall, 4525 Indianapolis Blvd.