As Gahanna city leaders plan for the future, council members are analyzing the 2011 appropriations and reviewing third-quarter financials.

As Gahanna city leaders plan for the future, council members are analyzing the 2011 appropriations and reviewing third-quarter financials.

During the Oct. 25 finance committee meeting, chairman David Samuel urged colleagues to review reports from finance director Angel Mumma and deputy director Jennifer Teal in preparation for committee discussions on Nov. 8 and 22 and Dec. 13. The appropriations are scheduled for passage on Jan. 3, 2011.

Mumma said the 2011 appropriation represents a combined $8-million in operating and capital reductions from what Gahanna once considered "normal" operations.

"Since 2007, our revenues have been declining and we've made significant cuts," she said. "Up until now many of those cuts have been virtually invisible to residents and businesses."

Mumma said those cuts would be felt especially during the winter, with roads not being maintained appropriately.

"Cuts in funding result in cuts in services to residents," she said. "But we are a service organization and there are expectations as far as services we provide. We've strived to take Gahanna to the next level but with declining revenue, we're struggling to make that happen."

Citywide cost savings measures have been implemented and each department has identified funding that could be returned to the general fund for a total of $726,000.

Mumma said the administration recommends using those funds to balance the appropriations.

"The entire administrative team is aware that this measure is a Band-Aid approach to a much larger budget problem," she said.

Mumma said she and other city finance directors are concerned about the Local Government Fund because cities are heavily dependent on that funding source.

Through the 2010 third quarter, Teal said, the LGF was down by about 1 percent from the same time last year. In Gahanna, the LGF makes up about 6.1 percent of its general-fund revenue, with about $1.3-million expected this year.

"We're getting feedback from others that we could potentially see drastic decreases from 30- to 50- to 100-percent reduction in the next year or two," Teal said. "We're not confident it will continue."

Mumma said the LGF represents general tax revenue at the state level.

Gahanna is "on target" to end the year as planned, according to Teal, but that's reflective of the cuts that have been made.

"We are still significantly down from our revenues of prior years," Teal said.

The 2011 appropriations show a $284,489 decrease in total revenue as a result of $40,822 decrease in parks and rec revenue, a $45,148 decrease in projected real estate tax revenue, a $45,000 decrease in projected interest income, and a $159,565 decrease in revenue from Mifflin and Jefferson townships, according to Mumma.

She said income-tax revenue - the city's largest source of funding - would be increased by $50,000 in projected revenue to $13,450,000 as Gahanna anticipates new employer Nations Health moving into the city during the fourth quarter.

"We are currently even with our collections from last year, a positive sign in my mind given the fact that we have had declining income tax revenue since 2008," Mumma said.

She also detailed the 2011 appropriations general-fund distribution as follows: salaries and benefits, 64 percent ($14,658,188); supplies and materials, 18 percent ($4,220,648); contract services, 14 percent ($3,074,970); and transfers, 4 percent ($991,509).

Mumma said there are no raises in the appropriation for the unclassified staff, the command staff, the supervisory staff or the employees who are part of the United Steelworkers bargaining union.

This marks the second year that nonrepresented employees wouldn't receive raises, Mumma said.

She has requested that council consider passing a summary appropriation in lieu of the traditional detailed appropriation that has been approved in the past. She said a summary would allow departments flexibility to transfer funds from one account to another.

"From a budgetary standpoint, you would still receive a detailed budget/appropriation that listed each account within each department," she said.