Upper Arlington's general fund balance ended up healthier at the end of 2011 than expected, finance director Cathe Armstrong told city council during its Jan. 17 conference session.

Upper Arlington's general fund balance ended up healthier at the end of 2011 than expected, finance director Cathe Armstrong told city council during its Jan. 17 conference session.

Armstrong presented a draft budgetary report of the past fiscal year during the meeting, saying that the news was due to a strong performance in the city's income and estate taxes, along with less spending than anticipated.

"In the end, we brought in over 3 percent more revenue than we anticipated going into the beginning of the year," Armstrong said. "The other part of the good news is that we didn't spend a lot of our budget. We lapsed over 5 percent of our appropriations, and a lot of that is due to vacancies in personnel that we did not fill, as well as our department directors making sure every dollar that we did spend was spent wisely."

Armstrong said that when the 2011 budget was drafted in the fall of 2010, the city expected to receive annual revenues of about $26 million. At mid-year, the projected revenue was estimated at $26.8 million, but Arlington ended 2011 with about $1 million more than that in total revenues, at $27.8 million.

"We thought going into the year that (income tax revenues) were going to be about flat with where we were last year," she said. "It seemed like the economy was recovering slowly, and we did make some adjustments at mid-year, but we ended up with about $14.7 million in income tax.

"If you look from year to year in that trend, 2008 was when we really fell off, 2009 it went further in the hole, and then things began to rebound in 2010," Armstrong said. "We really came back in 2011. At close to $14.7 million, that's more than the city's ever brought in in income tax, so we're really happy with this."

Armstrong said the last time the city saw income tax revenues close to that was in 2006, when that revenue was about $14 million.

Last year, Arlington also received about $3.125 million from estate taxes, up from the projected $2.5 million.

Including transfers and other resources, the draft report shows the general fund's actual total revenues and other sources as $30,255,206. The actual total of all city obligations as of December 2011 is listed at $29,967,974.

"So about $1.6 million that we had appropriated, we didn't spend, so we ended up adding to our fund balance when we thought we were going to draw down on that fund balance by about $700,000. It now looks like we're going to add about a quarter of a million dollars," Armstrong told council.

"Our ending general fund balance is just a little better than when we started out at the beginning of the year, so that's really good news."