The Canal Winchester Times

Tax collections higher than usual

City Council OKs another $100,000 for Gender Road


Canal Winchester City Council approved a $146,000 appropriations amendment last week, most of which will be spent on contract services associated with Gender Road improvements.

Finance Director Amanda Jackson said the money is from unappropriated funds that were available, in part, because income tax collections have been higher than anticipated.

"For example, September 2013 compared to September 2012, we're up by about 14 percent in our collections," she told council at its Nov. 4 meeting.

"I don't think I can pinpoint one particular thing helping us, but I know it is up all around central Ohio," she added. "So our income tax collections have been up this year, but the down side is, we had more in collection fees -- about $17,000 more."

Development Director Lucas Haire said the rebound of the automotive sector has definitely played a role in the city's increased revenue. Council President Steve Donahue said Haire also deserves some credit.

"I'd like to point out that some of the incentives that (Haire) came up with to attract and keep these manufacturers. This is the payoff we get from that," Donahue said.

Of the $146,000 included in the amendment, $100,000 will be spent on contract services for Gender Road.

"The biggest piece is the $100,000 in contract services for Gender Road phase 3," Jackson said. "We'll put that toward the nearly $450,000 for the roundabout, which will allow us to get some of the engineering done this year and will ease up our budget for next year."

In addition, she said, there has been a $2,000 increase in funds needed for prisoner housing, and $7,000 worth of increases related to city council's benefits and salary costs.

Another large chunk will go to the city law director, she said.

"There's about $20,000 in increases for solicitor services for Gene Hollins and Jennifer Croghan because of some of our larger issues this year, like Rockford Homes," Jackson said.

Rockford Homes is in the process of appealing a city decision to deny its plan for a new development of apartments. The case is currently in the Franklin County courts.

Also at the Nov. 4 meeting, Jackson provided council with the 2014 appropriation ordinance, which received a first reading during the meeting. The total general fund appropriation for 2014 is $6,114,277 which is slightly higher than the 2013 appropriations of $6,067,623.

"This is our official appropriation budget, which only has a few minor changes since July when I originally showed you a draft," she said. "This version includes a 3-percent increase in benefits costs and it includes 27 pay periods instead of the normal 26 because of the calendar next year."

Jackson said she hopes Canal Winchester will finish out the year as anticipated, with some surplus that can be used to further pay down city debts.