Hilliard's financial health is good through the first quarter of 2012, Finance Director Michelle Kelly-Underwood told City Council members during a first-quarter review at the Monday, April 23, meeting of the finance and administration committee.

Hilliard's financial health is good through the first quarter of 2012, Finance Director Michelle Kelly-Underwood told City Council members during a first-quarter review at the Monday, April 23, meeting of the finance and administration committee.

"It is too early to predict where we will end the year, but we are pleased we have collected more than a quarter of estimated revenues with one quarter of the year behind us," Underwood said. "After March 31, we would like to be at 25 percent of estimate in all our funds."

Through March 31, Hilliard has collected $5.4 million of an estimated $19.6 million, or 27.6 percent, in general-fund revenue.

Interest earnings are also above the estimate through the first quarter of 2012, but only because Underwood said she set a low estimate.

Interest earnings have plummeted for Hilliard and other cities in a weak national economy.

In the first quarter of 2008, Hilliard collected $121,833 in interest earnings. In the first quarter of 2011, the city collected $20,396.

Through the first quarter of this year, Hilliard has collected $22,061, or 35 percent, of the $63,000 Underwood estimated receiving in interest earnings for all of 2012.

Municipal income-tax collections through March 31 are 25.1 percent of the city estimate.

But shared taxes, which include estate taxes and local government funds, are at only 19.7 percent of the estimate. Hilliard has collected 32 percent of the estimated local government funding through March 31.

"While it would appear that local government funds are tracking favorably," Underwood said, distribution amounts might change after the second quarter as Ohio's fiscal year begins July 1.

Underwood said she reduced the 2012 estimate for shared taxes by $500,000, compared to 2011, based on the cuts Ohio cities expected in local government funding as the state sought to erase an estimated $7 billion deficit.

Fees for service collected through March 31 are at 34.7 percent, ahead of pace, and largely attributed to preseason sales of pool memberships.

On the expenses side of the ledger, Hilliard reported general-fund expenditures of $4.3 million, or 21.8 percent, of the $19.6 million general-fund budget for 2012.

"We want expenses to be under 25 percent … and they are," Underwood said.

It was largely achieved, Underwood said, because of flat wages, decreases in overtime and an increased share in employee contributions to health care plans.

The $4.3 million in general-fund expenses through the first quarter of 2012 reflects a decrease compared to general-fund expenses through the first quarter of 2011.

The city has spent $153,426 less during the first quarter of 2012, compared to the $4.45 million general-fund revenue expenses during the first quarter of 2011.

Looking ahead, Underwood told council members the second quarter is off to a good start.

Municipal income-tax collections for the month of April, so far, are ahead of that for April 2011, a good indicator for the start of the second quarter, she said.