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LaGrange to host budget hearing June 9

Following a six-hour budget work session by the LaGrange City Council Tuesday at the Del’avant Event Center and several months of planning by LaGrange City Manager Meg Kelsey amid a healthcare pandemic, the 2020-2021 city budget is available for viewing.

“We are entering 20-21 still in a strong financial position,” Kelsey said. “Although we are very mindful of the economic downturn and will monitor that as we move forward into the new fiscal year, and basically not making any major purchases until we get to the first couple months of the (fiscal) year.”

Kelsey said the budget is balanced and does include a modest surplus of about $20,000, based on projections. She said the city would continue to track revenues and expenditures throughout the year, and while it is a very conservative budget, it’s possible the city could stay on the positive side of the budget. However, due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said it’s all subject to change.

The city council called for a budget hearing at 5:30 p.m. on June 9. The hearing will also be at the Del’avant, and the public will be welcome to attend and make comments.

Mayor Jim Thornton said he was impressed by this year’s budget.

“I am proud of the work that our city manager and city staff have done shepherding this through the past year, and especially the past three months,” he said. “This budget the city manager has presented is really the product of a lot of hard work.”

Thornton said the city’s needs have increased, as the city continues to grow, but the past few months have been difficult, and there have been negative revenue trends due to COVID-19.

“I think as a result of her extremely sound and conservative fiscal management side, we have managed to begin this year with a strong cash position that will help us as we go into a difficult budget year,” he said.

Thornton mentioned he was especially proud of the fact the budget doesn’t call for the city need to dip into its reserves for the $105 million budget.

“I think that is a remarkable achievement,” he said. “I understand that there are some uncertainties out there, and I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, but I’m very proud of this product and appreciate the city manager’s hard-working on this as well as the staff.”