SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The City of Shepherdsville is trying to dig itself out of a big budget hole. A nasty surprise greeted the city's new mayor on the first week of his new administration. Now he and the city council have to find out where that money went and a way to make it up, fast.
"We were all blind sided by this," said new Shepherdsville Mayor Scott Ellis.
Ellis says even though he sat on the city council last year, he had no idea what awaited him once he took over the top job. He found out Friday morning.
"We had a meeting with some of the folks on the sewer plant expansion that we have in Shepherdsville and we started realizing then that there's an issue with the finances," Ellis said.
Mayor Ellis says normally at this time of year, Shepherdsville's 12 to 15 million dollar budget should be in the black. Instead, it's short.
"Probably two million dollars," Ellis said. "It's a lot of money. It's a lot of money and I can't totally quote that, but if I was guessing, that's where I would be at with it."
The city has a stack of bills that haven't been paid, some of them, for months.
"Probably four months, somewhere around there," Ellis said of the longest outstanding bill.
Fortunately, the city is nearing the end of a normally scheduled audit. The mayor and council members are scheduled to meet with auditors Thursday to find out how to fix what went wrong.
"It could be bookkeeping," Ellis said. "It could be just an oversight or it could be criminal. I can't answer that."
As for the people who live and do business in Shepherdsville, Mayor Ellis has this to say, "We're working on this and unfortunately, it's not one of those things that's not going to happen overnight. It didn't happen overnight so it's not going to be fixed overnight. Just bear with us and it's a message to the citizens also: trust us, believe in us, support us."
Ellis says solutions include things like possibly getting a loan and making some serious cuts.
He adds he has not been able to speak to former mayor, Sherman Tinnell, and ask him about the budget shortfall. WAVE 3 tried to call Tinnell but he did not call back.
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:55 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:55:08 GMT
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