North Vernon clerk stresses need to address revenue

North Vernon City Council has settled on a 2017 budget of $3.65 million dollars. However, that amount includes a nearly $464,000 property-tax cap that the state’s Department of Local Government Finance is instructing the city to classify as an expense, even though Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Gerkin says it’s really not. In actuality, said Gerkin, the 2017 budget will likely be slightly less than the city’s 2016 budget, which totaled $3,659,920.

The council held a special session Thursday night to go over the budget.  Gerkin said that that, while the city should be in “decent” financial shape in 2017, he expressed concerned for the years ahead if city officials wanted to do more than “the status-quo.” Gerkin pointed out that while city expenses and employee salaries are going up each year, North Vernon’s revenue has largely been stagnant.

“We all have a vision on how we want things to be, but the money just isn’t there,” said Gerkin, when discussing the council’s hopes for North Vernon in the future. He stressed that failure to take action in the near future could torpedo future efforts on things such as beautification efforts, purchasing extra equipment and other areas.

Without action, “I just don’t see the city’s revenue going up,” Gerkin continued. Council members thanked Gerkin and his office’s work and indicated that they agreed that action will need to be taken in the near future. What that action will be, has yet to be determined.

The North Vernon City Council is scheduled to formally adopt the city’s 2017 budget on Oct. 11.