SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY (WAVE) – During their meeting on Jan. 13, the Shepherdsville City Council voted in favor of a $300,000 credit line from the Peoples Bank of Bullitt County. Mayor Scott Ellis called it the first step to help fix their financial troubles.
"It's not going to be fixed overnight," said Ellis. "It's going to take some time and that's what we have to do."
The city's budget fell short about $2 million. On top of that, Ellis said the city owes a number of subcontractors money for the sewer plant. One of them is owed about $1.6 million.
Councilman Larry Hatfield says he thinks the problems started back in 2004 when a sewer interceptor line was installed under Kentucky 61. Hatfield said money was transferred from the sewer fund into the general fund, but was never paid back.
"We're going to have to make some type of move here immediately to pay up the past dues," said Hatfield. "I said it today and I'll say it again: We're going to go to eating beans and cornbread instead of steak and potatoes."
How does the council plan to close the gap? The council may start a rainy day fund, rely on tax revenue, make cuts or possibly look into furloughs. But right now, it is too early to tell.
"The people elected us. We need to be accountable to the people," Hatfield said. "I'm going to start being a lot more accountable than I was."
John Cook, the Shepherdsville city attorney, says it takes time to make the changes.
"We're still in an information gathering mode. Let's not forget the mayor took office just a short while ago, weeks ago," Cook said.
They ask the people of Shepherdsville to be patient as they sort this out.
"The people deserve to know where the money is going and we're going to make sure they have a chance to know where it's going," Ellis said.
Ellis wants his administration to be more transparent, and that said they're working on putting their budget online for everyone to see.
Ellis says he plans to meet with the auditors again on Jan. 18.