Hope Town Council unanimously approves larger budget, smaller property tax rate

HOPE — The town of Hope will have a larger budget next year but also a smaller property tax rate in the northeast Bartholomew County community of 2,100 residents.

That’s according to the $1.23 million budget adopted unanimously by the Hope Town Council Monday.

For the general fund, property taxes are expected to drop from .9078 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to .8588 next year, according to the approved ordinance.

When all funding sources are considered, the town is prepared to spend almost $60,000 more next year than what was budgeted in 2016, the ordinance stated.

The town has income sources other than property taxes that include vehicle registration fees, riverboat gambling proceeds, excise and income taxes, Hope Clerk-Treasurer Diane Burton said.

Revenue from three of those sources is projected to increase next year, according to budget figures.

The largest year-to-year increase is the amount of savings set aside for expenditures, according to the budget.

Almost $30,000 from the Rainy Day Fund was put into next year’s budget, which is about three times greater than the amount for this year. The council has not designated those funds for any specific purpose at this time, Burton said. Instead, members decided to set aside most of that money in case it will be needed in 2017, the clerk-treasurer said.

Many streets in Hope already have a fresh layer of asphalt, due to both local and grant monies obtained for this year’s $3 million water system upgrade. Even more streets will be upgraded either late this year or in the spring after the state announced in August the town will receive $57,332 from a state matching grant program. As a result, the council has set aside about $66,000 in its local road and street fund — a 21 percent reduction from what was allocated for this year.

Increases in three funds — capital improvement, capital development and economic development — mostly reflect the council’s desire to start setting aside money for the possibility of a new town hall, Burton said.10_21_16_REP_A_010.indd