Newark will have to change its 2009 budget to account for more projected revenue shortfalls in the building-code department.

Newark will have to change its 2009 budget to account for more projected revenue shortfalls in the building-code department.

"As of today, we have no solution to the dilemma," Newark Mayor Bob Diebold said last week. "And it changes the budget, which means the budget is wrong."

City auditor Stephen Johnson said the city is working within an interim budget, equating to about one-fourth of the general fund. That figure is $1,824,797, he said. The city could operate under the interim budget through the end of March, he said. At that time, the city would have to re-evaluate any changes, such as projected revenue from the building-code department.

Last year, the building-code department estimated it would collect $1.2-million in fees, but the department generated only $600,000, Johnson said.

"The rest was absorbed by the general fund, but we're getting too lean to do more absorptions," he said.

Earlier this month, council voted 6-4 to raise building-code fees to help generate more revenue, putting the ordinance in place for one year.

Last week, Councilman Don Ellington reintroduced the issue, and he and five others voted to rescind the previous legislation and not increase the building fees. Council members Ryan Bubb, Ed Houdeshell, Doug Marmie, David Rhodes and John Uible joined Ellington in voting to rescind. Only Carol Floyd voted to keep the fee increase.

Rick Henderson, Irene Kennedy and Shirley Stare were absent.

The proposed budget included $900,000 in estimated revenue from the building-code department. Without the fee increases, Johnson said, the estimate drops to $600,000.

Diebold said the administration is trying to find ways to cut spending in the department to match projected revenue losses, but the department already has cut some and is working with fewer people.

"Either scenario, the department doesn't stay solvent," Diebold said.

Johnson said the city often has to change its budget figures throughout the year because most revenue projections are estimates. He said income-tax collections, for example, could change, thus causing the budget to be revised.

"We monitor and certify as necessary, adjusting up or down," he said.

Diebold said because so many council members were absent from the Jan. 5 vote, the issue of raising fees could come up again.