Portage Clerk-Treasurer Blames Financial Troubles On The City's Mayor

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Portage Clerk-Treasurer Blames Financial Troubles On The City's Mayor

Clerk-Treasuer Chris Stidham said "unbudgeted" expenditures signed off by Mayor James Snyder have led to a $450,000 shortfall.

PORTAGE, Ind. -- The Mayor of Portage and the city's clerk-treasurer are at odds over the city's budget.

Clerk-treasurer Chris Stidham said Monday Mayor James Snyder's frivolous spending has put the city of Portage in the whole over $400,000 going into next year. Stidham said Snyder has signed off on several unbudgeted purchases this year.

"A good example is city IT costs," Stidham said. "Two years ago the city signed a contract for IT costs at around $125,000 a year. This year the mayor signed a revised contract that has pushed that cost to $360,000 a year. Which is unbudgeted."

Stidham said this isn't the only "unbudgeted" expenditure Mayor Snyder had given the green light too. He said the city has had to repay INDOT over $170,000 in unused grant funds for re-paving city streets, which was also not outlined in the city's 2018 budget.

Stidham added this puts the city in jeopardy of losing it's next round of state grants from INDOT for further re-paving that is needed.

According to the Times of Northwest Indiana, Snyder, through his representatives, is denying Stidham's claims.

Altogether, Stidham said the city's finances for the remainder of this year and into next year are going to be unnecessarily tight. He said the council had to work hard to find $450,000 in cuts to make in the 2019 budget into order to make up for this year's overspending.

Rumors of a small wheel tax increase have been floating around in order to help make up for the losses, but Stidham is adamant that a tax increase is on the answer.

"I'm absolutely against using wheel-taxes to pay for city IT services or city licensing software," Stidham said. "The wheel-tax was passed on the premise that it will be used for paving only and that's what it should be used for."

Stidham said he is "looking at" the possibility for running for mayor in 2019.

(PHOTO: money_pile/Thinkstock)

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