The Canal Winchester Times

2014 Canal Winchester budget includes more infrastructure projects

Tuesday July 9, 2013 10:37 AM

Canal Winchester City Council approved a 2014 tax budget last week that includes major investments in sewer and water infrastructure and street improvements.

It also includes pay increases for staff and council members.

Other major expenditures in the 2014 budget include $500,000 for street improvements and $1,672,485 for the Gender Road Phase III project.

State law requires tax budgets to be submitted by municipalities to the county auditor no later than July 22 this year, following a public hearing and approval by council. No residents spoke during the July 1 public hearing; council approved the 2014 tax budget unanimously.

According to city Finance Director Amanda Jackson, anticipated revenue and expenditures in the 2014 tax budget are very similar to the past two city budgets.

"The 2013 and 2014 tax budgets are very similar and are consistent with the 2012 budget," Jackson said.

"Income tax is our biggest revenue source and is projected to be about 2.5 percent over our 2012 actual collections, while the general revenue fund is only projected to increase less than 1 percent over the 2013 budget because increases in income taxes are being offset by the disappearance of the estate tax and earnings on interest-bearing accounts going down."

The general fund should begin 2014 with a carryover of $2,673,054. Estimated revenue is listed at $6,115,250 with budgeted expenditures of $6,114,227, leaving a carryover balance at the end of the year of $2,674,076.

Total budgeted expenditures across all funds are estimated at $15,794,638 with a 2014 ending balance of $9,339,092; which is about $1.5 million less in total fund carryover than at the end of 2013.

The tax budget lists an anticipated end-of-year balance for all funds of $10,924,253 at the end of 2013; expected 2014 revenue of $14,209,477; and anticipated disbursements for 2014 of $15,794,638.

That would leave an anticipated balance from all funds of $9,339,092 at the end of 2014.

A new two-year state budget that was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich June 30 will likely have a negative impact on revenue for Canal Winchester, Jackson said.

"In regards to the state budget bill, because of the timing, we weren't able to include any of the cuts that will affect us in the budget that we discussed last night," she said July 2. "However, we will be taking those into consideration and adjusting accordingly."

As approved, the city budget includes 3-percent raises for city council members and the mayor, and the potential for 3-percent pay raises for city staff members, based on individual performance reviews.

Jackson said she anticipates an average increase of 15 percent for benefits because of higher costs and changes in health care laws.

Public Works Director Matt Peoples noted that Canal Winchester has large investments in water plant upgrades totaling about $1.75 million planned over the coming year.

"We're currently undergoing the design for updates of the existing plant, which will replace equipment that is 15 years old or more, including our monitoring system, which is like having a 15-year-old computer at home and you can imagine how useful that is," Peoples said.

"This will put us in good shape for the next 15 years and that doesn't include capacity, which we're already in great shape with," he added. "We'd planned to reach 100-percent capacity by 2017 but we're still only using half that."

Peoples said a sewer rate stabilization fund was established following the last plant upgrades so the upgrade investments will not require any long-term debt.

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