Whitestown residents should notice a lower property tax bill as the town's tax rate decreased to $1.21 from $1.24.

The Whitestown Town Council amended its 2015 budget during its Tuesday night, March 10, meeting and made nearly $740,000 in cuts after a recommendation from the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.

Town Manager Dax Norton said the majority of the cuts came out of professional services and the fire department.

"We cut a little more than what DLGF requested to keep us in check and to have some cash reserves at the end of the year," he said. "We want to be fiscally sound with the taxpayers' money. It sounds tremendous, but there are other communities that got hit harder that can't afford to have these cuts."

Councilor Dawn Semmler asked if they could afford to cut $100,000 out of the professional services line since there have been talks of doing a special census, which would cost around $120,000.

"The special census can go out of the cash reserves, which are very good," he said. "That $120,000 is going to give us a return on investment in two years. Taking out of our cash reserves is not going to hurt us. Our professional services was pillaged last year thanks to some legal items, so we didn't really use that much of it for studies."

Norton said the town's fiscal health is still "very good."

"Our (assessed valuation) is around $350 million, which for a town of 5,000 people and our land mass, that has to be close to being the tops," Norton said. "We are doing better off with our tax balance than some of our neighbors. We're not trying to play catch-up, and we're not trying to take the burden off the backs of our homeowners."

Semmler said she noticed there was a deputy clerk listed in the budget for $46,000 while Clerk Treasurer Amanda Andrews is making $47,500. She questioned why the deputy clerk would be making nearly as much as Andrews.

"That is a pretty normal number to have in as a not-to-exceed amount," Andrews said. "That's not what I will bring someone in at. I don't like comparing, because it's tough to do, but my salary is on the lower side. I am not asking for anything there, but I can't bring someone in with the education and background needed for much less than $40,000."

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.

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