• Brownsburg Town Council considers resolution to reject consolidation with townships

    June 29, 2012 No comments

    At a special joint meeting Wednesday with Lincoln and Brown townships officials, the Brownsburg Town Council considered a resolution against consolidating the unincorporated portions of the townships with the Town of Brownsburg. Under I.C. 36-1.5, the Government Modernization Act, the proposed consolidation would require elimination of the Brownsburg Fire Territory and its Equipment Replacement Fund, resulting in an estimated loss of more than $580,000 to the Town’s cash flow starting in 2014. 

    Finding the negative financial impact was not in the best interest of the Town and its citizens, the council voted unanimously on first reading to reject the Plan of Reorganization that was presented to the three legislative bodies in July 2011. The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance indicates there’s no legal remedy to addresses the elimination of the fund, nor to reset the levy to recapture that lost revenue.

    A nine-member Reorganization Committee had evaluated the possibility of consolidation and its potential public safety, governmental operations, and financial ramifications pursuant to the Government Modernization Act which encourages cooperation among political subdivisions to reduce reliance on property taxes and to provide services in a more effective and efficient manner. In its plan, the committee recommended no tax increase for the taxpayers of what would be the new Town of Brownsburg. 

    “We appreciate the work of the Reorganization Committee,” Town Council President Dwayne Sawyer said. “But, the Town Council is charged with looking out for the financial interests of the current 21, 285 residents of the Town, and we must reject the Plan of Reorganization based on the financial impact alone. Fortunately, we discovered the issue now and are able to save a significant blow to the budget for the foreseeable future.” 

    Town Manager Grant Kleinhenz added, “In addition to the budget issues, tax rates, and operational matters necessary to implement the plan, we’ve identified a number of transition issues that would still need to be addressed further before any final plan for consolidation could be considered. But this doesn’t mean that the Town and the townships won’t revisit the issue again in the future.” 

    The Lincoln Township Board also unanimously voted for a similar resolution to reject consolidation, while the Brown Township Board voted to put a public question on the general election ballot in November. A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10 at Eaton Hall, 61 N. Green Street, after which the Town Council and township boards must conduct a second and final reading of the resolutions.

    Each legislative body is required to adopt the plan of reorganization as presented; adopt the plan of reorganization with modifications; or reject the plan of reorganization by July 14. If the resolution to reject the plan is adopted on second reading, the Reorganization Committee will be charged with revising the plan by July 25 for consideration at the Town Council’s July 26 meeting.

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