Vanderburgh Co. Council urging departments to save money for next year’s budget

Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau requesting council to conduct destination study
Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 6:55 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Vanderburgh County Council has started budget hearings for next year.

Council members are hoping to decrease next year’s budget by 2%. Officials are now asking each department to be cautious of their budgets due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The council says this upcoming year is going to be crucial and members are looking to save a lot of money. Members tell 14 News they usually don’t see money from residents until 18 months later, meaning they won’t see the coronavirus’s impact on the county until 2022.

Council leaders say a few departments are asking for more money.

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office is one department asking for an increase. Officials say they need it to recruit more deputies, hoping to make their jobs more competitive.

“A lot of places are calling for defunding the police departments,” Vanderburgh County Council President Tom Shetler Jr. said. “We believe it’s strong to come out in favor of what those guys do to save our lives, and the lives of our families.”

The Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau is asking the county council to help them fund a destination study. That study will tell officials what needs to be added to the city to make it more attractive.

“Can we have a destination attraction, do we need to expand the convention center, are hotel properties enough, do we need additional growth?” CVB CEO Jim Wood said. “It’s a look at all those elements that the city currently has - how can we reshape it over the next 10 years.”

The study will cost around $160,000 and will take six months to complete. Studies like this have been done around the country, including places like Louisville, Kentucky.

Though the price may seem like a lot, officials say the benefit will be far greater.

“It also improves the quality of life for the citizens that live in your community because there’s more things to do when you live in a community,” Wood said. “You’re excited when friends and family come in from out of town - you can take them to places.”

If the funds are approved by the county council, the bureau plans to begin the study this fall.

The council has one more day of budget hearings and are hoping to adopt the budget for next year in early October.

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