Mayor Lloyd Winnecke has submitted a proposed balanced budget for 2013 that includes pay increases for city employees and spending on capital projects to improve public safety and the quality of life for local residents. The proposed budget will be reviewed by members of the Evansville City Council during a series of public meetings this week at the Civic Center.
“It’s a responsible budget that helps meet the needs of our city while attempting to address future challenges,” Mayor Winnecke said. “While there is never enough money to fund all requests, my administration has worked diligently to create a budget that is fair to taxpayers and keeps the city moving forward.”
The budget projects $266.6 million in revenues and expenditures topping $252.9 million. In addition to a 3 percent pay increase for city employees, the budget proposes full-funding for the local Homestead Tax Credit at 8 percent. That would save the average homeowner about $135 dollars on a $100,000 assessed value home.
Mayor Winnecke has shifted priorities to focus on capital improvements that were unfunded in prior years. The 2013 budget includes more than $35 million in capital investments, including $235,000 on lease payments for 30 police cars delivered in 2012; $318,000 to purchase 14 new police cars; and $252,000 to equip the vehicles with computers, emergency lights and sirens and police radios.
The Fire Department capital budget proposes $1.2 million for vehicles, including $878,000 for a new combination pumper, engine, ladder apparatus and lease payments on two new fire trucks; plus $92,000 to replace radios that have been in use for more than 20 years and can no longer be upgraded.
The Mayor allocated money for quality of life improvements, such as $625,000 to clean-up urban blight and demolish dilapidated, abandoned homes; an additional $2 million for street maintenance; $900,000 for Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden, including $500,000 for planning of the new Africa area and lion exhibit; $300,000 for renovations at Mesker Ampitheatre; $5.6 million for the Cass Avenue sewer project; and $5.4 million for water utility improvements city-wide.
Budget hearings will take place this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday starting at 4 p.m. in Room 301 at the Civic Center.