Skip to content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer

August 2, 2018 Budget Workshop Council Minutes


AUGUST 2, 2018  3:00 P.M.


Roger D. Yoder Council Room

345 N. Morton Street

Shipshewana, IN  46565


PRESENT:  Council; Elmer J. Mast, C.A. Lazzaro, Tad T. Hite, (late) 3:45 p.m. Lynn M. Bontrager.  Staff; Tom M. Fitch II, Robert W. Shanahan, Ruth Ann Downey, Chad L. Miller arrived at 3:50 p.m.   Public; Brandie Fitch, Newbury Township Trustee arrive at 3:55 p.m.  Council Members ABSENT:  J. Mike Wilcher.


Council President, E. Mast reported that Council Member L. Bontrager would be arriving late and Council Member J. Mike Wilcher was absent.  E. Mast asked R. Downey to begin the 2019 Budget review.


Clerk-Treasurer, R. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for the 2019 Budget Calendar along with the June 30, 2018 Fund, Appropriation and Revenue reports.  We use these reports as we build the budget for next year.  Financial Consultant G. Guerrettaz of (FSG) Financial Solutions Group was here on July 19th and we put together the proposed Budget for 2019, you each have a copy of Budget Form 1 from 2018 and 2019 from each fund that we will review.


The 2019 Police Department Budget was presented by Marshal T. Fitch II.  T. Fitch II referred Council Members to page 9 of the Police Department Budget Proposal and explained that he is requesting what he needs to do his job.  I write grants and try to get free equipment for my department that can be used by the Town through the Military Surplus program.  The Police Department does what we can for the Town, we have painted the park equipment and do what we can to be a part of the community.  We try to give to the Town and I look at where I can save money for the Town.  T. Fitch II reviewed his budget with the Council and explained why each line item was up, down, or stayed the same.  T. Fitch II reported that we do have two officers that have attended the school resource officer training and they will be available to help cover Westview High School this fall.  T. Fitch II pointed out one reason costs are going up is that the Law Enforcement Academy is no longer free.  Discussion followed regarding the possibility of locking in the price of fuel and the cost of tech support, along with the need to replace some equipment.  T. Fitch pointed out that $20,000 has been set aside in the CCD Fund to help replace body armor and our tasers in 2019.  A brief discussion followed regarding the need for more storage space along with an interview and training room for the Police Department along with the possibility of adding on to the current building.  It was also pointed out that water issues in the basement have created issues with evidence and other things that have been stored in the basement have been damaged.  T. Fitch II noted that in the past we have built to our needs and not looked to the future. B. Shanahan pointed out that we need to look at all our options before we do anything.  E. Mast expressed the need to have the building issue addressed in the Town Master Plan.  T. Fitch reported that with the hiring of a 6th officer next year we will be looking at a 12-hour schedule for 4 of the officers, that should bring us closer to 24-hour coverage.  Having a 5th officer has made a big difference with the number of call-outs we receive.  G. Guerrettaz has said that the Police Department should be between 35 – 50% of the General Fund Budget and we have been able to do that, we face many unique circumstances here with the dynamics of the Town.  With the addition of a 6th officer we may go over 50% of the General Fund Budget.  Discussion followed.


The 2019 Fire Department Budget was presented by Fire Chief C. Miller.  C. Miller reviewed the proposed 2019 Fire Department Budget as set out on Form #1 and expressed concern that minimum wage could go up and we want to be prepared if it does goes up so we have built an increase into the firefighter wages.  Increases were also requested for the Fire Chief and Assistant along with a new paid part-time office staff position because the firefighter who is currently do this for the department will be getting married.  He is currently putting in about 20 hours per week putting in training records and other reporting requirements.  Additional money has been requested for a computer program that will help us track and train firefighters and for tech support.  The 2018 Budget was approved at $135,900 and the proposed 2019 Budget is $205,770.00.    B. Shanahan reported that the Police Department has hired an Executive Assistant that can handle data entry for the Fire Department and it would mean they would only have to buy two computers rather than three.  You could reduce the line item for office help to $9,000.00.  Discussion followed.  C. Miller referred Council Members to their paperwork for a paper titled Budget Increase Item which includes $38,000.00 for Fire Equipment, etc.  C. Miller reported that there is only a 10-year life expectancy for turn out gear and discussion followed how other departments handle things.  B. Shanahan expressed concern about people paying for items out of their own pocket, for example a K-9 officer.  C. A. Lazzaro pointed out it is not uncommon for teachers to pay for supplies out of their own pocket.  C. Miller reported that some of the firefighters purchase their own extrication gloves, but no one is ever forced to.  Discussion followed.  B. Shanahan reported that some-how we must reconcile going from $135,900.00 in 2018 to $205,770 in 2019, can we even fund that.  B. Shanahan went on to report future truck needs on the Fire Department Capital Plan and noted that creating a Fire Territory is the only sustainable option for the Fire Department.  Due to the upcoming elections and Township Trustees changing that has put us one year further down the road for the creation of a Fire Territory.  There has been discussion about possibly including Lima Township in the Territory.  E. Mast expressed appreciation for the budget submitted by C. Miller, but can we achieve it.  Discussion followed regarding how other area Fire Departments are set up and operate.  R. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for a revised Sustainability Analysis for the Fire Fund that was prepared by FSG.  Should you decide to adopt the Fire Budget as presented this report shows that it is not sustainable, in the year 2020 we would be $28,032.01 in the negative and it goes up from there.  The tax rate growth factor for 2019 is 3.4%  and that is all that was put into the Fire Budget Miscellaneous Revenue for assistance from the Townships, any extra growth will have to be covered by the Town and will take tax dollars from the other tax supported funds.  The current tax rate for the Town for the Fire Fund is .0613 and if the 2019 Fire Budget is approved as proposed the estimated Town Tax rate will be .1333.  When I received the report confirming that the proposed Fire Budget would not be sustainable I looked for places that the budget could be cut and was able to bring the Fire Budget down to $154,000.00, that is without circuit breaker.  I have not entered these numbers in the gateway system but if the Council would like to see a revised Budget Form 1 for the Fire Department our Administrative Assistant can enter the numbers and print a new form for you.  R. Downey asked the Administrative Assistant to prepare a revised Budget Form #1 for the Fire Fund.  R. Downey reported to the Council that $37,000.00 is being appropriated in the Public Safety LOIT Fund for Fire Equipment along with $20,000.00 for the Fire Truck Lease Payment and there should be $10,000.00 available in the Fire Cum Fund for Fire Equipment and Truck Repair, we will also take a $20,000.00 Fire Truck Lease payment out of the Fire Cum Fund.  This lease is for a 5-year period.  Discussion followed.


  1. Shanahan reported that the Hudson Car Auction will be held this Saturday August 4th beginning at 11 a.m. they already have 200 buyers registered and have 67 cars to auction, they like to have a 3 to 1 ratio. They will also be auctioning off the memorabilia.  The Fire Department Auction/Fund Raiser is coming up in September.  The Maple Net Contract was reviewed, and B. Shanahan reported that the Park Board met last evening and were pleased with the proposed 2019 Park Budget which includes money in the Food & Beverage Tax Fund to build another park pavilion and to make improvements to the basketball courts.  I also found out that the Park Master Plan being done by Region 3-A has come to a halt.  The person who was preparing it for the Town is leaving Region 3-A, so I will follow up with that and see when they plan to have it finished.  You need a Master Plan to apply for some grants.  Discussion followed.  B. Shanahan reminded Council Members that R. Downey has recommended that the Council consider updating the Town Master Plan, which should include infrastructure, storm water drainage, annexation and a general plan for Town growth.  Discussion followed.


The Council reviewed each Town Fund and compared the 2018 budget to the proposed 2019 budget, R. Downey pointed out new line items in each fund.  Discussion followed regarding growing costs, the need to create a Fire Territory, and how to meet the Police Department needs.


  1. Downey reported that we are requesting an Excess Levy Appeal in the amount of $100,000.00 due to the MEC Annexation. We do not know how much will be approved by the DLGF but money from the appeal will be placed in the General, MVH and Fire Funds per the Annexation Fiscal Plan. I mentioned earlier that the tax growth factor for 2019 is 3.4% and that was taken into consideration when we put together the proposed budget.  We have built in a wage increase of 3% for employees with a few exceptions of slightly higher increases to maintain the appropriate wage difference between employees.  When we advertise the proposed 2019 Budget on Gateway we will use 80% of this years AV to be sure that we advertise our tax rates high enough.   The question was raised at another meeting about borrowing money from ourselves rather than doing a lease for our trucks.  I double checked with SBOA and their response is Indiana Code allows for temporary transfer of funds to meet cash flow needs and the money must be paid back by the end of the year unless an emergency is declared but it still cannot go out for 5 years like our Fire Truck Lease.  We can borrow from our utilities over a 5-year period, but you run the risk of needing that money for your utility and it not being there.  Discussion followed.  R. Downey pointed out another question that has been asked is when we can pay off the Town Center Bonds.  I received an answer from FSG and when the bonds were refinanced in 2014 they were structured in such a way that they cannot be refunded until February 2023.  Discussion followed.


There being no further discussion E. Mast adjourned the 2019 Budget Workshop.