City looks to tap into Rainy Day fund for harsh winter

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – The harsh winter is forcing the city of West Lafayette to tap into the Rainy Day fund, but not all council members think the move is a good one.

By a vote of 6-1, the council voted on a first reading to transfer money from the Rainy Day fund to the 2014 budget. If the proposal is approved on second reading next month, Mayor John Dennis said the city will transfer about $350,000 to help the budget recover.

Between sand and salt, overtime, potholes and equipment repairs, it was a costly winter for the city. Some of the money will also go toward some street work and resurfacing projects to prepare for another harsh winter.

But councilwoman Vicki Burch voted down the transfer of funds, saying reserves like the rainy day fund are important to maintain.

“I need to get concrete information on really how much money is where. I don’t want to set a precedent for using rainy day funds,” said Burch.

“When you deplete one account, you have to replenish it through another. So, we’re going to take care of the human resource issues first, which is overtime and things like that nature. Then that depleted our operational accounts, and then the rainy day funds is obviously going to facilitate that. Overall, the cost of this winter was significant and it required us to draw down on that rainy day fund,” said Dennis.

The council also voted to submit a claim related to a flooding incident at city hall in January when a company checked some walls and made sure the carpet was dry.

This is separate from the ongoing work on the mold problem that was discovered after a second flooding incident. Dennis said that damage is still being assessed. He said the city is anticipating repayment for that incident as well.

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