Delaware News

Delaware's 'status quo' budget for '14 nearing approval

By ANDREW KING
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Delaware City Council is set to approve the city's 2014 budget at its regular meeting Dec. 23.

The preliminary budget of $17,578,984 had a second reading and public hearing during the Monday, Dec. 9, meeting of council; the public hearing passed with no comment from residents.

City Manager Tom Homan called the proposal a "status quo" budget. Expenditures are projected to increase by $434,669, or 2.5 percent, from 2013, while revenue will be an estimated $17,695,989 -- about $100,000 more than expected expenditures.

After 2014, the city estimates its fund balance will be $5,132,144, nearly 30 percent of all expenditures.

In his 2014 budget message, Homan emphasized the importance of a balanced budget.

"I can report that City Council again will be in the enviable position of adopting a balanced budget," Homan told council. "This does not happen by chance.

"Staff has been conservative in its spending, consistently evaluated services and operations for opportunities to enhance cost-effectiveness, and viewed the long-range financial stability of the community as our highest priority."

The report highlights an increase in both property and income taxes for the city's revenue stream, though the city will take a hit in inheritance taxes (repealed this year by Ohio) and the state's Local Government Fund, with a predicted reduction of $944,000.

Despite the balanced budget, the nearly $1 million cut limits the city's ability to add services, and will not allow for street "resurfacing needs" throughout the city, Homan said.

Delaware was able to cut costs by combining public works, engineering, public utilities and planning and community development into a newly designated Public Service Group, with the goal of sharing work and reducing duplication, he said.

The city also noted that 2013 will be the first year since 2007 when residential permits will exceed commercial permits. As of November, 163 single-family permits were issued -- a steep rise compared to the lowest number of 88 in 2008.

A notable budget reduction comes in administrative services, where the city will cut $125,952.

Council will meet Monday, Dec. 16, for a final review session before voting to adopt the 2014 budget Dec. 23 at its final regular meeting of 2013.

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