Hilliard Northwest News

City estimates next year's tax budget

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Finance Director David Delande introduced Hilliard's tentative tax budget for 2015 at the June 23 meeting of the City Council's finance and administration committee.

The tentative tax budget is an estimation of the budget for 2015 and must be filed by July 21 with the Franklin County Auditor's Office, Delande said.

A permanent operating budget, typically adjusted, will be adopted later in the year.

The tentative tax budget for 2015 estimates general-fund revenue of $22.3 million.

The estimated general-fund revenue for 2014 was $21.4 million. The city's actual general-fund revenue in 2013 was $21.5 million.

The estimated general-fund expenses for 2015 are $21.8 million.

Hilliard's estimated general-fund expenses for 2014 are $21.4 million. The city's actual general-fund expenses in 2013 were $19 million.

In related matters, Delande announced that Standard & Poor's upgraded Hilliard's general obligation bond rating from AA to AA+, the second-highest possible behind AAA.

"It's a great accomplishment for our city (and) a feather in our cap," Delande said.

Delande said the recently enacted policy to set aside a cash reserve equal to 25 percent of the general-fund operating expenses was a factor in the upgrade.

The report from Standard & Poor's cited it as a "positive credit factor."

The report also cited strong or very strong performances of the local economy, budgetary performance, budgetary flexibility and liquidity.

The report specifically cited the relocation of the Verizon call center to Hilliard, which is expected to generate an additional $1.5 million in income-tax revenue in 2015, as a basis for the city strengthening the local economy.

However, the report described the city's debt and contingent liability profile as weak.

Net direct debt was 184 percent of total governmental-funds revenue in 2013, and total government-funds debt service was 18 percent of total government-fund expenditures, according to the report.

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