Westerville News & Public Opinion

City spending will grow 3.2 percent in 2013


Westerville City Council approved a $185.7-million budget for 2013 at its Dec. 4 meeting, the last meeting of 2012.

That compares with $161.1 million budgeted for fiscal year 2012.

The 2013 general-fund budget, which accounts for most of the city's operations, is $39.2 million. The much larger total budget figure is due to the city operating its own water and electric utilities.

The budget fits within the city's comprehensive five-year budget plan, said City Manager Dave Collinsworth, and maintains the city's fiscal policy of maintaining a budget reserve.

The city continues to see the impact of the down economy, Collinsworth said.

"Most of our major tax revenues remain flat or down. Our investment income is about a third of what it was in 2008," and the city has seen a decline in the funds it receives from the state government, Collinsworth said.

However, the city's largest revenue stream, its income tax, is anticipated to grow 4.5 percent in the coming year, he said.

The city's five-year plan shows no increases in staffing, and keeps a 3.2 percent average growth in expenditures, Collinsworth said.

One thing that is significant about the 2013 budget, he said, is that the city sees $1.5 million that was budgeted by not spent in fiscal year 2012.

City Council Chairman Mike Heyeck said the unspent funds from 2012 are significant because they demonstrate that the city spends as frugally as possible, even after money is budgeted.

"Unlike the typical government operation, we actually have a surplus that will be brought back into the funds," Heyeck said. "Almost every year, we have a turn-back."