Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 8, 2014

Bunker Hill treasurer resigns

Town hasn't had a state-approved budget in four years.

By Carson Gerber Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — BUNKER HILL — Bunker Hill Clerk-Treasurer Sarah Betzner has resigned after failing to get state approval on a town budget for the last four years.

Town Council President Robert Cox said Betzner decided to step down from the position after the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance said it would not approve the town’s budget for 2014.

“We had a long conversation,” Cox said. “She resigned voluntarily.”

He said the town’s budget wasn’t approved this year because Betzner failed to properly advertise it in the newspaper. Past reasons for a rejected budget included not filing required documents or not filing them in a timely manner, Cox said.

Betzner could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Betzner was appointed to the position in 2010 after the previous clerk-treasurer resigned. She then won election in 2012.

Councilwoman Lisa Wilson was appointed last week by Miami County GOP Chairman Ethan Manning to complete the remaining two years left in Betzner’s four-year term.

“I was very impressed with Lisa,” Manning said. “She’s done a lot in the community and she’s determined to get things straightened out.”

Wilson served on the council for three years and the park board for two years before the appointment.

“My goal is to get our financing back on track,” she said Tuesday. “We need to get this town back on track.”

But that could take some work.

Cox said the financial state of the town isn’t clear since Betzner didn’t keep good records. He said Wilson is doing a thorough investigation into the town’s budget, and will make a preliminary report later in the month.

“In the short time Lisa’s been in there, she’s been in constant communication with us,” Cox said. “We’ll start a plan of attack this month … I’m as anxious as everyone else to find out where we’re at. We’ll have to use our best judgment to get ourselves back on track.”

He said the biggest priority is getting a budget for 2015. Until then, the town will have to operate on emergency appropriations to pay the bills.

Betzner’s resignation comes after four town council members also decided to resign last year. Cox is the only elected member who remains on the five-person council. All other members were appointed.

“Each person has had their own individual reasoning for leaving,” Cox said.

Manning said he appointed two members to the council last year.

“I’m not quite sure what it is,” he said. “I’d love to see everyone serve out their terms. I don’t like to see people resigning, but ... we take it stride.”

Manning will also appoint someone to fill the seat left vacant by now Clerk-Treasurer Wilson.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.