Hello Village Residents,
Fall has officially arrived. Overnight we went from air conditioning to hats and gloves. Fall means leaf collection, which starts October 17 and runs through December 2. For those new to the Village, you may rake leaves in rows next to the curb (no sticks, gravel, etc). The town vacuums the leaves and uses them for mulch. It benefits the town, and for residents the process is far easier than bagging leaves.
Fall also means comfort foods. Last month, we celebrated our annual picnic on the bricks.* I received a request that everyone who brought a homemade dish consider sharing their recipe, and so this month the Village Voice is being written by all of you. Please add your recipes to the comments below, and feel free to add your favorite holiday recipes, too.
Although Thanksgiving is still more than a month away, if you’d like a fresh turkey it’s about time to place your order. One of my favorite interviews was with Little by Little Farm, which has been in operation near Zionsville for nearly two decades. They’re currently taking turkey orders, while Moody’s and other butchers will start their orders mid-October.
On November 1 we have our next VRA meeting at SullivanMunce Cultural Center at 7:30 pm. This will be our annual election. If you’re interested in being on the VRA board, please let me know. We’ll cover several topics including our financial situation, the return of the progressive dinner, and Zionsville trivia. Then please put November 5 at 9 a.m. on your calendar to help clean the museum gutters (rain date, Nov 6). It’s the least we can do for a free place to meet.
Anyone who has paid dues for 2022 will receive an invitation to the annual Progressive Dinner (with limited capacity). You can pay dues for this year or next year at zvra.com/join-the-zvra/. PayPal and Venmo are accepted.
Finally, anyone at all (Bueller?) who would like to contribute to the VRA newsletter, please step forward. If journalism or blogging are in your wheelhouse, or even if you’re dabbling at writing, please drop a line. An article every few months would be very helpful.
Heather Lusk, VRA President
*if you’re missing a silver bowl or spoon from the picnic, send an email to email@example.com.
From Town Council
It’s that time of year. Budget season. Every year the Town goes through a public process where we decide how to spend your hard-earned tax dollars. The process is structured by the State to help guide municipalities, but also means we come under a tight deadline for passing the various steps needed.
The initial part of any budget is its creation. Typically, the Mayor, alongside her department heads, will put together a budget based on their current and future needs, as well as any projects that might be larger in nature. These requests can range from new hires to large capital projects such as a new fire truck.
Once a budget has been created, it is presented to the Town Council for our input. We can look at how the Mayor has chosen to allocate the budget and compare it to our own needs for the community based on what we’ve heard from our constituents.
What follows next is a grand bargain to ensure that what we spend is the maximum ROI for the community. It also is a discussion about how much we spend relative to the income we bring in. Our income is up this year with personal income and property taxes all rising giving us 9.3% ($2.9M) in additional revenue. The Mayor is proposing an $8.7M rise in spending, which would give us a $7M deficit in our budget. The Council will likely push back on that number given our preference for a balanced budget.
I personally have been worried about the turnover within the Town. We’ve lost employees for several different reasons but pay is one of the concerns. Given our rise in revenue, I plan on advocating for more substantial pay increases than the Mayor’s proposed 4% raise. My hope is that a bigger increase for police, fire, roads and other personnel will keep them from jumping to other communities as each employee lost is both expensive to replace and a soft cost of losing their institutional knowledge.
Each of the budget steps is public so you are welcome to follow along. Our first meeting is a budget workshop on September 22nd at 5:30 PM. This will probably be published after that meeting, (ED: yes, sorry!) but it will be recorded and available. All other steps should happen during the Town Council regular meetings.
~ Josh Garrett