Dublin City Council members heard the first reading of a $68.1-million budget for 2012 last week.

Dublin City Council members heard the first reading of a $68.1-million budget for 2012 last week.

Council members got a look during the Nov. 14 meeting at next year’s proposed budget, which staff has been working on since August and requests $68.1 million in expenditures.

The second and final reading of the 2012 budget is expected at the Dec. 12 council meeting.

“This reflects a 2.1-percent increase compared to the 2011 operating budget,” stated city manager Marsha Grigsby in a memo to council. “The budget includes a proposed salary increase of 2 percent for non-bargaining unit employees.”

The budget was created with council goals in mind, the memo said, and includes $170,000 for expenses related to the Bridge Street corridor. The proposed budget also includes a funding request for a new program.

“In 2012, the city will conduct the first Dublin Police Citizens Academy to educate adults on the operations and the management of policing activities,” Grigsby said in her memo to council. “It is anticipated that this program will result in a group of highly trained and knowledgeable citizens who can serve as ambassadors for community safety initiatives.”

In terms of revenue, the proposed budget projects $65.75 million in 2012. The revenue expected for 2012 is nearly $3 million more than the $62.84 million in revenue budgeted in 2011.

The city expected to bring in $62.84 million this year, but instead will bring in $69.07 million in actual revenue. City staff budgeted revenue conservatively last year and will see more in revenue because of increased income-tax collections.

With a rise in revenue — 80 percent comes from income tax — Dublin’s general fund balance would increase. Dublin has a policy to maintain a general fund balance, or carryover fund, of at least 50 percent of the general fund expenditures.

In 2010, the general fund balance was 75.9 percent of general fund expenditures and by the end of the year it is expected to increase to 77.68 percent, or $42.8 million.

“This level of reserve is looked upon extremely favorably by the ratings agencies and has been highlighted by both Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings as a rationale for the city’s Aaa/AAA bond rating, the highest rating available from both agencies,” Grigsby said in the memo.

As for requested expenditures, capital projects in the 2012 proposed budget include $2.5 million for park improvements such as the Coffman Park expansion, renovations to the Dublin Community Pool North and upgrades for the Emerald Parkway Bridge Park, which will mean a parking area, pathways and landscaping under the bridge to provide access to the Scioto River.

Requested transportation projects in the capital-improvements fund include $3 million for annual street maintenance, $470,000 for railroad quiet zones, $1 million for Brand Road multi-use paths and $1.6 million for the Dublin Road south multi-use path.

Other major requests include $1.08 million for fleet management. According to budget notes, the expense is related to the clean-energy grant Dublin received that will help fund the conversion of several city vehicles to run on compressed natural gas. The city also is building a station to fuel these vehicles after they are converted.

A slight increase in funding was requested from the events administration division, as the city prepares for the 25th anniversary of the Dublin Irish Festival.

“The special occasion will be marked with exciting new activities for festival guests, including the 2012 International Highland Games Federation Woman’s Professional World Team Championship, world-renowned Irish author visits and historical displays,” according to Grigsby’s memo.

For the special projects/programs account, which funds 25th- anniversary initiatives among other things, $51,250 was requested — an increase from the $4,750 budgeted in 2011.

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