Long-struggling Bicknell sees better days ahead

(WISH Photo, file)
(WISH Photo, file)

BICKNELL, Ind. (AP) — A small southwestern Indiana city that has struggled to make ends meet in recent years is on its way to financial stability, and its mayor predicts it could be on solid ground next year.

Bicknell, a city of about 2,900 residents just northeast of Vincennes, has struggled with financial shortfalls since officials failed to properly adopt the budget in 2012. That left the city scrambling for ways to cover employee raises and other spending increases with the tax dollars it received in 2011.

The situation was compounded when the city received less money than expected from the state in 2013. Officials were forced to borrow $100,000 from the sewage department, cut the budget by more than $65,000 and lay off staff to stay afloat.

Mayor Jon Flickinger said all of the careful planning has paid off. The city was able to meet its financial obligations between the December and June tax draws this year.

“This was the first time in two years that we haven’t had to move things around,” he told the Vincennes Sun-Commercial. “We didn’t have to rob Peter to pay Paul.

“If we watch our Ps and Qs we’ll be in real good shape by next year,” the mayor said. “We might actually be able to take care of some of the things that have gotten pushed off around here.”

One project the city has already tackled is demolition of several Main Street buildings that had been severely damaged by 2008 fires. Flickinger said he wanted them razed before a downtown revitalization project begins this fall.

“Bricks were falling down onto the sidewalk and we were really worried they’d hit someone or something,” Flickinger said as the last of the buildings came down Thursday. “We really needed them down before (the revitalization) so this pile didn’t land on our million-dollar project.”

The revitalization project is scheduled to include new street lights and sidewalks.

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Information from: Vincennes Sun-Commercial, http://www.vincennes.com

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