MERRILLVILLE | The Town Council is asking its department heads to reduce spending this year.
The Merrillville Police Department is in the process of cutting its budget by $150,000.
The council on Tuesday unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance that would reduce the appropriations for the Police Department by that amount. The council could adopt the ordinance in two weeks.
Police Chief Joseph Petruch said the budget cut will not reduce the police force.
Councilman Tom Goralczyk, chairman of Merrillville's Budget and Finance Committee, said he will send notifications to Merrillville's other department heads asking them to return available money to the town's general fund.
He said he isn't seeking a specific amount from the departments.
Town leaders have said Merrillville has faced financial struggles since state lawmakers passed a law in 2007 that froze the property tax levy in Lake County.
Goralczyk also said Merrillville is investigating the possibility of becoming a Title 1 community with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
He said Merrillville could become eligible for more HUD grants if it receives the designation.
Public Works Director Bruce Spires said Merrillville receives Community Development Block Grant funding that is administered by Lake County.
If Merrillville becomes a Title 1 community, it would work directly with HUD to receive that funding, Spires said.
"You skip the middle man," he said.