Hilliard Northwest News

Hilliard's finances

Mayor: Most 2013 savings negated by harsh winter

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Hilliard's general-fund expenditures in 2013 were 8 percent less than estimated, but this year's harsh winter will wipe out the savings, Mayor Don Schonhardt said.

Finance Director David Delande provided an overview of the city's revenue and expenditures for 2013 at the Feb. 24 meeting of City Council's finance and administration committee.

"This winter has annihilated those savings," Schonhardt said at the conclusion of Delande's report.

Still, Delande reiterated the city's strong economic showing in 2013.

"It was a little stronger than we expected," Delande said.

"Municipal income-tax collections, our largest source of income for general fund and capital needs, grew 9.2 percent (in 2013) from 2012," Delande said.

Hilliard collected $20.8 million in income-tax revenue in 2013. The city collected $19 million in 2012, according to Delande's report.

The city's total general fund, which includes 69 percent of municipal income-tax revenue, was $21.5 million in 2013, an amount that exceeded the $20.4 million estimate by about 5 percent.

Interest earnings continued a pattern of plummeting, according to the report.

In 2013, the city's interest earnings were $32,586, a drop of 42 percent from the $56,637 the city earned on its investments in 2012.

In 2007, the city had interest earnings of $862,489.

The city's general-fund expenses in 2013 were $1.6 million less than budgeted.

"One of the largest variances was in the personnel category due to lower-than-expected medical claims for 2013 and not filling vacant positions," Delande said.

City officials estimated general-fund expenses of $20.3 million. Actual general fund expenses for 2013 were $18.7 million, or 92 percent of the estimate.

Combined, the city's revenues exceeded expenses by almost $3.3 million in 2013, boosting the cash reserve to $10 million.

However, beginning last year, the city implemented a policy to budget an amount equal to 25 percent of the operating budget for unforeseen expenses.

In 2014, that amount is $5.3 million, leaving an unencumbered cash balance of $4.7 million.

In other action at the finance and administration committee meeting, seven ordinances were introduced refinancing existing bonds and notes and issuing new notes for a variety of capital-improvements projects.

The city is refinancing debt issued via bonds in 2007 that will save about $300,000, Delande said.

Other ordinances authorize issuing new notes, including $900,000 for purchasing new refuse and recycling containers; $1.25 million for the construction of a new emergency-communications tower; and $3.4 million for improvements to parks and recreation facilities.

All seven ordinances were introduced at the Feb. 24 City Council meeting and are scheduled for a second reading March 10.

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