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City finances much bigger battle to tackle for new year

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Our views

    Is there any fire in the smoke?
    While we were focused on personnel changes during Mayor Scott Ellis’ first week in office, the bigger issue may be the financial situation of Shepherdsville.
    When there is a question about payroll being funded, that is an issue.
    The question is whether the state of financial affairs is that great or is there just a reason for concern.
    The firm contracted by the city for its annual audit was to meet with Ellis and councilmembers Larry Hatfield and Don Cundiff on Tuesday.
    They hoped to get a clearer picture of the situation at that time.
    The most frightening part of the situation is that January is normally not a time governmental agencies are hurting from money.
    Property tax bills are normally paid in November and December. Revenue is normally plentiful.
    The hope is that it has been a matter of transferring from one account to another and the money is actually there to cover all the bills.
    But the reality is that money may be tighter than anyone knows.
    This has provided a painful lesson for a brand new administration -- councilmembers are responsible for the fiscal responsibility of the city and they need information.
    The annual budget is presented by a mayor but the council must approve it. City officials must take an active role in preparing and approving the budget.
    If they are shut out of the process, they must demand to be included.
    If money runs tight, they will be required to make the tough decisions.
    By the brief discussions on Monday evening, it is evident by Ellis will keep the councilmembers fully informed as he now takes office.
    This has truly been a crash course in economics and finances. We hope the city is able to pass this pop quiz.