Whitehall News

Next year's budget

City expected to improve cash balance to $5.8M at end of 2013

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Whitehall's general-fund budget for 2013 shows a positive balance of nearly $500,000.

That means the city's cash reserve could be an estimated $5.8 million by the end of 2013. The ending balance for this year is expected to be almost $5.3 million.

Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard has presented the city's 2013 budget to council for consideration. Council members are expected to formally adopt the appropriation budget before the end of the year.

Maggard described the budget as a work in progress, with the latest budget revision sent to council members Nov. 15. The latest budget revision shows reductions in the estimated revenue and expenses, but also a lower net profit than previously estimated.

The budget for 2013 estimates general-fund revenue of $25.4 million and expenditures of $24.9 million, resulting in a net profit of $493,118.

Estimated general-fund revenue for 2013 represents an increase from the $24.6 million estimated general fund revenue for the current year; while estimated expenses for 2013 reflect an increase from the estimated expenses of $24.6 million for the current year.

At the department level, council's budget is $97,700, slightly less than the 2012 appropriation of $99,050.

The budget of the office of mayor is $542,115, an increase from the 2012 appropriation of $507,732.

The most significant line item increase with the mayor's budget is "IT Technician," which increased from $36,400 in 2012 to $56,700 in 2013.

The budget for the director of technology was increased from $70,000 in 2012 to $83,543 in 2013.

The budget for the mayor's salary remained identical at $77,500.

The budget of the offices of auditor and treasurer is $887,740, a marked increase from the 2012 appropriation of $782,474.

The largest line-item increase is income-tax refunds, the amount set aside for refunds.

City officials said the numbers of businesses that traditionally have opted to use refunds as credits for future tax debt are seeking refund at increasing levels.

Whitehall budgeted $400,000 for income-tax refunds in 2013; the city appropriated $250,000 for refunds in 2012.

The budget for the office of human resources for 2013 is $157,000, a slight increase from the $145,831 appropriated for 2012.

The budget for the office of city attorney for 2013 is $339,657, a slight increase from the $329,821 appropriated for 2012.

The budget for the office of public service remained virtually unchanged, with an appropriation of $553,332 in 2013, compared to an appropriation of $554,946 for 2012.

The budget for the parks and recreation department is $853,263 for 2013, an increase from the $813,510 appropriated for 2012.

The budget includes a new expenditure of $30,000 for a master plan for improvements to Whitehall Community Park.

The budget for citywide employee benefits is $6.7 million, an increase from the $6.1 million appropriated for 2012.

The budget for the Whitehall Division of Police for 2013 is $5.6 million; the budget for the Whitehall Division of Fire is $4.3 million.

Maggard said she lowered general-fund revenue estimates for 2013 after observing that income tax for 2012 slowed in the final quarter.

"I believe this updated version is a more realistic forecast," Maggard told council members about the five-year forecast. In addition to a detailed budget for 2013, the budget also includes estimates for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Council members discussed the budget in general at the Nov. 13 meeting of the committees of Whitehall City Council.

Councilman Wes Kantor said the mayor "put a lot of thought and work" into the budget and said he was amenable with its allocations.

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