City officials are asking Gahanna residents with financial experience or experience with city budgets to serve on a citizens' financial advisory committee.

City officials are asking Gahanna residents with financial experience or experience with city budgets to serve on a citizens' financial advisory committee.

"They can see if there's something we're missing or they can provide fresh ideas," Mayor Becky Stinchcomb said.

Stinchcomb presented the idea May 24 during Gahanna City Council's finance committee meeting. Her suggestion followed remarks by finance director Angel Mumma, who told council the city's five-year projections indicate revenue over the next five years would be below anticipated expenditures.

Though revenues from real estate taxes are up slightly thus far this year and the local government fund could grow slightly in 2011, she said, even if the local government fund were to increase by 1 percent, it wouldn't be enough to help stabilize next year's budget.

Speaking specifically of five-year projections, Mumma said, "Revenue will not be enough to sustain operations of the city in a normal manner of service to residents."

She said the city has limited opportunities for growth. She also had hoped to provide income-tax figures on collections through April of this year, she said, but the city's switch to the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) has delayed reporting. RITA began collecting city income taxes in January. Mumma told council she expects to have more figures on income-tax collections by July.

Councilman John McAlister asked how income-tax revenues could be down.

Stinchcomb said the city lost employees when engineering firm EMH&T left the city and via the loss of Alliance Data. The city no longer is gaining large numbers of jobs with one company, either, she said, because it no longer has large tracts of land to develop.

"We've added new jobs, but we're not going to get 500 to 600 jobs. We're going to get five to 10 jobs now," Stinchcomb said.

Mumma said all city departments are looking at cuts this year and next year to help balance the budget.

Stinchcomb said the citizens' committee could help by providing suggestions that city officials haven't considered.

"We want fresh input," she said.

She suggested that 12 people serve on the committee, which would set its own meeting schedule. She said she would accept names of applicants and nominees through her office phone, (614) 342-4045, or through e-mail at mayor@gahanna.gov.

Stinchcomb said she hopes the group could begin meeting in June and provide some recommendations for council in August or September.

lwince@thisweeknews.com