Evansville mayor outlines cuts in 2016 budget

Evansville mayor outlines cuts in 2016 budget

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke held a press conference Tuesday to outline $1.7 million in budget cuts approved by city council.

Council members approved the reductions as part of the overall 2016 budget.

The new budget includes a $225,000 cut from non-profits.  It completely defunds Evansville VOICE and the Challenger League.

Other affected organizations include the Evansville African American Museum, Keep Evansville Beautiful, Children's Museum of Evansville, Evansville Museum, SWIRCA, Evansville Philharmonic, United Neighborhoods of Evansville, Vanderburgh Humane Society, Boom Squad, Youth Resources, WNIN, Junior Achievement, Youth Build, and Youth First.

The Evansville Police Department will incur a $140,000 cut to its overtime budget.

Sgt. Jason Cullum says overtime is used for emergencies and training as well.  He told us the department will have to evaluate which officers need specific training.

The Evansville Fire Department saw its overtime budget reduced by $28,000.

Mayor Winnecke also told the crowd that the METS cuts could jeopardize the possibility of Sunday service.

Approximately $800,000 was eliminated from the budget for road projects.

Funding for the Victory Theatre was reduced by 50 percent while the Ford Center incurred an 18 percent cut.

Winnecke also announced that the Anthony Oates Pool will close.

Funding for the Blight Elimination program was greatly reduced.

The mayor believes that decision was "strictly political" on the part of the city council.

"This was just a typical dog and pony show where they wanted the administration to look bad, take it down to the 11th hour and cause a lot of hoopla over it," agreed Councilman Jonathan Weaver.

"As finance chair, my job is to try to get a budget and do so in a responsible way," responded Councilman Conor O'Daniel.  "To say that I was playing politics or even suggest it is really offensive to me."

The mayor also called the budget "an exercise in bad public policy."  However, Winnecke said it would have been an even greater travesty if no budget was approved.

The city council needed to pass a budget for city employees to receive a 1 percent raise and to avoid a financial hole of more than $1.5 million.

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