EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT)- Monday marked the first hearing of the 2024 budget for the city of Evansville and pay raises, for city employees, was on the agenda.
The hearings will continue through the week, before the city council takes time to deliberate and make the final decision.

Although Monday is the first time city officials are meeting for this, the budget proposal has been in the works for some time, as internal discussions began in the spring.

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke tells us, “It’s my last budget. Its kind of odd to prepare a spending plan for a new administration that I won’t be apart of… I won’t be overseeing this.

Among the mayor’s top priorities are salary increases for the next mayor and city clerk. Mayor Lloyd Winnecke tells us his salary has sat consistently at just over $100,000 since he’s taken office, saying his administration purposefully did not budget an increased salary the past 12 years. The proposed increase comes at around a $35,000 raise.

He explains, “consequently the mayor’s salary is significantly below counterparts around the state. We’re the 3rd largest city in the state and I think the mayor’s salary is the 12th, 13th, or 14th largest in Indiana. So we think we needed to increase that, and the same for the city clerk.”

Deputy Mayor and Interim Parks Director Steve Schaefer, highlighted the future of Hartke Pool, noting that what started as a slide replacement project, uncovered some deeper issues.
He says, “Unlike any of the other pools, it has basically a concrete liner. Every year before pool season, park maintenance is addressing where its separating, where there are cracks. The pool deck and the concrete is past it’s useful life. And where the slides and the diving board have been in the past, those areas have degraded, seriously. The diving boards for example, the whole structure when we were deciding to take it out, was nearly collapsing… into the concrete.”

Schafer explains that when he stepped in as Interim Parks Director, he inherited a 5-year master plan. Schaefer says, “Looking forward with the 2024 budget, we are addressing some of those needs. Whether it’s trying to figure out the future of where Lloyd Pool once stood, or what to do with Helfrich or Hartke Pool, all of those things are included in this budget.”

The proposal also includes the purchase of several police cars, fire trucks, and new modern technology for dispatch.

The final budget must be approved by november 1st.