Delaware News

'Status quo'

Delaware approves 2014 city budget

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Despite a projected increase in revenue, Delaware City Council recently approved what City Manager Tom Homan called a "status quo" budget for 2014, in large part due to state cuts.

Council unanimously approved the balanced operating budget, with expenditures set at $17,551,049 and revenues projected at $17,695,989, at its meeting Monday, Dec. 23.

Expenditures are up about 2.5 percent compared with 2013, while revenue is projected to grow about 1 percent.

Homan wrote in his budget message to council that while most revenue streams are increasing, the city will continue to see reduced funding from the state.

The city received more than $1 million per year in local government funding between 2004-12. That funding has dropped to less than $640,000 in 2013 and 2014.

The estate tax, a revenue source that provided between $200,000 and $800,000 to the city annually between 2004-13, has been eliminated by the state legislature.

Homan wrote the cuts "greatly limit our ability to increase or enhance city services, or sufficiently address much-needed surfacing needs."

Homan has said the city needs to continue to lobby state officials for some kind of restoration of funding for local governments.

While state funding cuts continue to sting, city income tax revenue was up 4.7 percent in 2013, and the city's administration projects a similar increase in 2014.

Fees from commercial and residential development projects also are trending upward. The city had issued 163 new single-family home permits -- almost double the number issued in 2012 -- by the end of October.

While still well under the number of permits issued per year in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the number represents a solid increase from the years during and following the 2008 recession.

City officials also said the number of commercial permits issued in 2013 could set a record by year's end.