VRA President’s letter:
It feels like Zionsville is abuzz with projects right now. A few months ago we were busy learning about the proposed Gateway area. The past few weeks I’ve spent many hours learning about both the changes in Zoning Ordinances and the proposed Conservation District. I’ve asked for feedback from residents for all these projects so that I may better convey your feelings, questions and attitudes. I’ve heard from many of you and really appreciate your time so that I can best represent Village residents.
Hopefully some of you were able to participate in at least one meeting regarding zoning. The town currently has more than 500 pages worth of zoning ordinances. An outside consultant has been hired to whittle this down and reduce the number of zoning areas we currently have roughly from 40 to 16. They will also simplify information and remove redundancies and inconsistencies. Much of this occurred during annexation and consolidation. You can see some of the videos on the town’s YouTube page:
The consultants are still looking for feedback. If you watch the video and have thoughts about the discussion, please send them a message: Zionsvilletowncode.com
Thanks to everyone who attended the picnic on Saturday. It was wonderful to see everyone and great to be back on the brick street as a neighborhood. We’re tentatively planning for an in-person meeting on October 26. We will likely have it available via Zoom also. We’ll have elections and will discuss future events.
If the last few weeks have been any indication, it’s going to be a busy fall!
The Zionsville town budget, and the process for which it is proposed, revised, and adopted, is the most important task done by the Town Council. This dictates how approximately $30M in tax dollars are strategically spent on public safety, economic development, streets, sewers, and a myriad of other Town services.
The budget process begins with each department head submitting their prospective budget to the Town CFO. Each forecasted budget is based on long-range planning, short-term and on-going needs, as well as input from the Mayor and Town Council. Those budget requests are aggregated into an overall Town budget and compared to state-projected revenue sources including income tax, property tax and other funding sources.
The budget itself goes through a series of public meetings where there are changes and modifications. Once passed, it is submitted to the State for certification and dictates how money can be spent within the following year. Additional resource allocation which may happen within a year above the approved budget is done by the Town Council through appropriations.
Put simply, it is extremely important to pass a thoughtful and fiscally responsible budget. If we fail to pass a budget, the State will dictate how Town funds must be spent based on the previous year’s budget. In addition, there are no increases provided in assessed value, which has compounding revenue implications for years to come.
This year the Council has taken a new approach to working with the Mayor and department heads on their budget requests. Rather than having all Councilors work on each department, individual Councilors serve as the liaison on a specific department’s budget. This allows for more detail to be discussed, while also allowing the goals of the Council to be communicated prior to the start of the approval process.
One of the Council’s budget priorities is ensuring that the talented men and women who work for the Town have the adequate training, tools, and salaries to continue their careers with us. Our Town employees, and the vast knowledge they have of our operations and citizens, is critical to our Town’s continued success.
There are two major philosophies that drive the Town Council’s approach to the budget. The first is that recurring expenses, especially those that may be newly proposed, be sustainable in subsequent years. It is important to this Council that those services for which the public comes to rely on can continue to be delivered. The second is that our budget is honestly balanced.
Additionally, the Council is looking at best practices around the country to develop pragmatic controls on the budget to ensure services proposed and approved are delivered. While changes to spending may come up during the year, it is important that those changes have the same degree of public transparency and input as the budget process itself.
We are hopeful Mayor Styron and her administration share the same goals and remain optimistic that the 2022 budget process will be smooth and provide the appropriate funding to keep Zionsville a vibrant and welcoming community.
Josh Garrett Zionsville
Town Council President