Westerville City Council heard the first reading of the 2014 budget resolution this week, a document that projects the city's general fund budget growing by less than 1 percent from this year.
The proposed budget would have the city spending $39.6 million from its general fund in 2014, up 0.9 percent from the $39.2 million budgeted for 2013.
The proposed budget shows city expenditures growing more gradually than revenue, which is projected to grow 1.9 percent in 2014, Westerville City Manager Dave Collinsworth told City Council members at their meeting Monday, Nov. 4.
In all, the city has budgeted $198.2 million for 2014. The number is significantly higher than its general operating budget because it includes the funds for the city-run electricity and water utilities, as well as all city departments, such as police, fire and parks and recreation.
The total city budget for 2013 was $185.7 million.
Along with the budget, City Council also heard the first reading of legislation for 2014 rate increases for residents' water, sewer, electric and refuse rates.
If all of the rate increases would be approved, the average water, sewer, electric and refuse customer would pay an additional $8.04 per month.
During budget talks, City Council and city staff worked hard to lower the proposed utility increases from what was originally recommended by city staff, said council Chairman Mike Heyeck.
"We are really proud of what staff has done to get us to this point," Heyeck said.
The budget resolution, and the resolutions to increase utility rates, will see second readings later this month, with plans for adoption at council's December meeting.
Collinsworth also announced at the Nov. 4 meeting that the city once again will have money remaining from this year's budget at the end of the year.
This year, $1.5 million will remain unspent, and the majority will be earmarked for future capital-improvement projects, Collinsworth said.