Licking County News

Pataskala City Council

Revenue, expenses decrease in proposed 2013 budget

Finance director also recommends new equipment purchases, several hirings to Pataskala City Council

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Pataskala City Council's finance committee reviewed the proposed 2013 budget Oct. 29, which projected decreases in both revenue and expenditures yet suggested the city hire several employees and purchase new equipment.

Finance Director James Nicholson said the budget includes projections for the next five years.

The revenue estimates include a 3.5 percent increase in income-tax collections and a 1.5 to 2 percent increase in property taxes annually.

There is a 3.75 percent cost-of-living increase for employees in 2013 and a 3 percent increase in 2014 to 2017.

Medical insurance costs are expected to increase by 8 percent annually and vision insurance by 5 percent annually.

Nicholson said he estimated dental insurance will increase by 8 percent every other year.

The city's income-tax revenue currently is divided among four funds: 15 percent to the street fund, 24 percent to the police fund, 55 percent to the capital-improvements fund and 6 percent to the debt-service fund.

Nicholson said the distribution will change in 2013, per City Council's decision: 27.5 percent to the street fund, 55.5 percent to the police fund, 8 percent to the capital-improvements fund and 9 percent to the debt-service fund.

Mayor Steve Butcher said he is concerned about running the capital-improvements fund too low, even if the fund is only used for matching dollars required for grants.

The city's general-fund revenue, which comes mostly from property taxes, is projected to be $1.64 million, a decrease of $114,100 from the 2012 fiscal year.

General-fund expenditures also will be lower than 2012 at $1.81 million, a decrease of $495,300, Nicholson said.

He said the general fund balance remains positive through 2017, though "it is declining over the five-year time horizon due to the relatively fixed income source (property taxes) and the growing expense base."

Nicholson's budget includes hiring the following personnel: a full-time code-enforcement officer; a human-resources officer; a full-time street department employee; one full-time and one part-time police officer; and a part-time parks department employee.

The budget includes purchasing the following items: a light-duty vehicle for administrative staff members; a truck for the planning and zoning department; a global-information system for the city and utilities department; new software for the finance department; a tractor and mower, two pickup trucks with utility beds and a 1-ton dump truck for the service department; an upgrade package for the police department's radio system; a copier; two police cruisers; a pickup truck for the water department; and a pickup truck for the sewer department.

Merissa McKinstry, the finance committee chairwoman, asked Nicholson to prepare a chart detailing the number of employees to be hired in 2013, with estimated costs and reasons for the positions.

She requested the same for equipment purchases, with more details on what equipment each department has and why that equipment is not meeting the city's needs.

The presentation to City Council and the 2013 budget documents are posted online at www.ci.pataskala.oh.us.

City Council is expected to hear the first reading of the budget ordinance Nov. 5. A study session will be scheduled between that meeting and the second reading of the 2013 budget, scheduled for Nov. 19.

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