Reynoldsburg News

Council to revisit 'structural imbalance' in funds

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Reynoldsburg City Council plans to revisit a three-year-old ad hoc committee report that concluded city finances were affected by a "structural imbalance" in the general operating fund and capital improvement fund.

Councilman Scott Barrett made a motion during the April 21 finance committee meeting to reopen discussion of the ad hoc report from 2011, which has been held in "other legislation" status since July 2012.

"I'd like to get it out of the bullpen and onto the field," Barrett said.

He said council members should be discussing the "structural imbalance." The summary page of the ad hoc committee report states the city has been balancing its general fund budget for a number of years by using accumulated reserves and reducing funding for capital improvements. The document quoted Auditor Richard Harris as saying Reynoldsburg historically had devoted as much as 15 percent of income tax revenue to its capital improvement fund.

"In order to balance its operating fund, the city has gradually reduced the allocation of income tax revenue devoted to capital improvements to its current level of 2 percent," the report says. "This practice has enabled the city to 'kick the can down the road,' but that option is no longer available."

The ad hoc report suggested the city put a 1-percent income tax increase on the ballot, but four attempts to pass such a tax increase have failed. The last attempt was in November 2013. Reynoldsburg has not had an income tax increase since 1982.

The report states that if an income tax increase fails at the ballot, "voters should be advised council is prepared to reduce the income tax credit."

"Council members tried to do that last July, voting to cut the city's current 100-percent tax credit in half and thus raising taxes without voter approval, but the move was vetoed by Mayor Brad McCloud before it could go into effect. McCloud said he wanted voters to make the decision at the ballot to raise taxes.

The tax credit reduction would have required residents who work outside the city to pay a 0.75-percent income tax to Reynoldsburg on top of whatever they pay to the city where they work.

Council approved Barrett's motion to move the ad hoc discussion to the next finance committee meeting at 7:30 p.m. May 5 at the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building, 7232 E. Main St.

The complete 2011 ad hoc committee report may be found on the city website, at ci.reynoldsburg.oh.us on the city council page link.

In other action Monday, the finance committee agreed to send an ordinance authorizing a 3-percent cost-of-living raise for noncontract city workers to the full council with a recommendation it be approved as an emergency April 28.

Councilman Mel Clemens said he has heard no comments or complaints from the public about the cost-of-living raise.

"I'd like to see this sent to council as an emergency after the second reading so that we can get this raise started for these workers," he said. "The money is already in our city budget."

The cost-of-living raise will affect about 50 city employees who have not had a raise in three years. Harris said the increase will cost the city about $100,000. It will be retroactive to Jan. 1.

The full city council meets at 7:30 p.m. April 28 at the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building.

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