Ferdinand proposes budget, ARPA spending


FERDINAND — The Town of F
erdinand plans to budget an estimated $2.54 million for expenses in 2022, leaving room for unexpected projects that may crop up throughout the year.

This is about $400,000 more than the 2021 budget, partially because the town has already received more than $250,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act, which provides coronavirus aid from the federal government.

The Ferdinand Town Council viewed a breakdown of the 2022 budget at a public hearing Tuesday evening. No members of the public were present for the hearing. The budget adoption meeting will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Ferdinand Town Hall.

After all the department heads presented their “wish lists” to the council last month, a budget was drafted to fulfill most of the requests while also having money set aside for flexibility purposes, Town Manager Chris James said. This will allow the town to adapt if a project, such as new subdivision construction, is presented later down the road.

The 2022 estimated budget includes about $1.24 million in the general fund, $70,000 for local roads and streets, $390,000 for motor vehicle highways and $160,000 for the parks. It also includes $30,000 for the Ferdinand Folk Fest and about $63,000 for the Old Town Lake.

The estimated tax rate is about 77 cents per $100 assessed value, which is down from 2021’s rate of about 80 cents per $100 assessed value.

The council will also hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the town hall to discuss how the town will use its ARPA money. It’s a two-year funding process, and the town already has the first of two installments, which totaled slightly more than $250,000. The public is encouraged to attend the meeting and provide feedback on how the money will be used, although there are tight restrictions from the federal government.

Besides a select few areas such as water and broadband, the ARPA spending must directly tie back to COVID-19 relief, Town Council President Ken Sicard said. However, the town is considering using the funds to purchase a new police vehicle and fire department pickup truck. The rest of the proposed ARPA projects mostly relate to water, such as a restroom facility at the Old Town Lake. ARPA project spending does not need to be finalized for a few months.

The council also:

• Approved the hiring of Shawn Apps as a full-time officer and Rayce Jones, Robert Spurling and Kolton Brown as reserve officers for the Ferdinand Police Department.

• Approved costs to send two water and wastewater department employees to Bloomington to tour wastewater plants.

• Extended the town’s COVID-19 emergency order, which currently does not require masks in town meetings if vaccinated. Sicard said if the county enters the red zone again, the town will close its offices and require masks again.

• Approved an ordinance permitting and regulating food trucks in the town.

• Heard that the false fire alarms at the Comfort Inn have been addressed by IPD Hospitality and should no longer be a problem.

• Approved the following barbecue dinner dates at the American Legion: Oct. 10, Nov. 14, Dec. 12, Jan. 9, Feb. 13, March 13 and April 10.

• Approved an ordinance eliminating a recycling program from the town’s municipal code. This program has not been in use for years, so removing it from the municipal code allows room for an ordinance for a new program.

• Approved a $1,000 contribution from the town to the Dubois County Leadership Academy. Each municipality — Jasper, Huntingburg and Ferdinand — contributes the same amount of money to the academy to cover costs such as guest speakers. There are nine participants in the academy this year.

• Approved the hiring of Kayla Hoffman as the town’s new deputy clerk.

• Gave permission to advertise a truck, boat and mower for sale.

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