Shepherdsville citizens continue to question budget shortfall - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Shepherdsville citizens continue to question budget shortfall

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Martin Brown Martin Brown

By Katie Bauer email | bio

SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A storm of questions still swirl around financial problems for the city of Shepherdsville, and citizens want answers about that $4-million budget hole.

Shepherdsville residents aren't letting the city off easy, they want to know why is it in the red, and what happened to their taxpayer dollars.

"I'm back again to ask questions about what's being done about the $4-million that's missing," said former city employee Gaynell Rummage.

"If you don't have it, you don't spend it," said Jose Cubero, Shepherdsville resident. "That's what we do at our houses."

Some citizens have taken the investigation of the missing funds into their own hands, and they wondered why their open record requests haven't been fulfilled.

"Nobody is trying to do anything other than get you the information, after it goes through what I refer to as an investigative channel process," said Joe Wantland, Shepherdsville City Attorney.

"Why can't they see it right now," asked a concern citizen. "Is something being hid?"

"I think something has been hid, everybody on this council found out we are a little short of money," said Wantland.

To help get the city back on track, the council approved spending some money on financial consultants in hopes the missing funds will be recovered. "This problem is fixable," said Martin Brown with PublicFinance.Com.  "It's going to take some time, it is going to take some creativity, but this problem is fixable."

For the last couple of weeks, Brown and his company have worked towards putting together a recovery plan to help the city. "It appears that the city bit off more than they could chew," said Brown.

He says Mayor Scott Ellis has been very cooperative in handing over any records needed to discover the problem areas.

"The department heads have tended to spend their budget as if it were cash and a budget line item isn't cash, it's a spending plan for what you intend to do if you get the cash," said Brown.

For example the police department spent about 90% of its budget by mid-February, which still leaves five months in the fiscal year.

Brown says the recovery plan is almost complete. He said he doesn't want to go into detail on how to fix the budget problems until the council has a chance to look it over. He will be back in two weeks with an update, So far this process has cost the city $3000.

(Copyright 2011 WAVE News. All rights reserved.)