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$1.9M returns to General Fund

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@wabashplaindealer.com

The City of Wabash returned nearly $2 million in unspent monies to its General Fund at the end of 2018.

By decreasing department spending, factoring in money that cannot be spent from property tax caps, creating an energy efficient plan and limiting the increase to the city’s healthcare budget, a total of $1.98 million was returned to the General Fund and will be used on railroad projects and blighted areas of Wabash.

The city’s leadership and Clerk Treasurer Wendy Frazier focused fiscal responsibility and fund distribution in 2018, according to a press release from the city.

“It’s just what we do. We look at everything and see what we can save and what we can fix,” she said.

Part of the energy efficient plan, the city saved an estimated $10,000 in 2018 by switching all of its lighting fixtures to LED, the release said.

“We switched our lights everywhere, not just ones in our city building,” Frazier said. “We switched city lights, lights in the police department, the fire department and street lights.”

Some money was also saved by reduced spending across departments due to property tax caps. Frazier explained that the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) gives them a “line item” in their budget, making them account for the money in their budget, “but it’s money we can’t spend.”

In addition, Frazier said the city’s healthcare fund will be increased by less than 1 percent this year.

“All department heads are cognizant of their budget and spending,” said Mayor Scott Long. “We anticipate expenditures and budget accordingly. Together we are consistently seeking ways to reduce operating expenses without sacrificing the quality of place for our citizens.”

Long said the city anticipates using the returned funds for “large-scale expenditures exceeding $100,000,” this year, including making improvements to the former GDX Automotive location on Stitt Street that has been vacant since 2007. The mayor also anticipates using the money as matching funds to obtain grants for a railroad overpass.