Gahanna interim finance director Jennifer Teal told Gahanna City Council members on Oct. 24 that the city has collected $19,895,669 in general-fund revenues from all sources on a cash basis.

Gahanna interim finance director Jennifer Teal told Gahanna City Council members on Oct. 24 that the city has collected $19,895,669 in general-fund revenues from all sources on a cash basis.

This amount represents 89 percent of the year’s estimated total revenues for the city. The total collected is an increase of 7 percent over the amount collected through the third quarter of 2010.

“The local income tax remains the city’s largest source of revenue,” Teal said. “Through the third quarter, it made up 60 percent of the general-fund revenue.”

Teal added that income-tax revenue is up significantly compared to 2010 because of the transition to the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) and that the remainder of the year should bring the same results.

“The city’s income-tax revenue has not only stabilized but (also) has increased to where it nearly mirrors our 2007 collections, which was the year in which the city received the highest amount of income-tax revenue,” Teal said.

She reported that individual returns have increased 26 percent over 2010, amounting to $571,170 in additional revenue.

This increase in individual returns, Teal said, likely is because of RITA’s enhanced enforcement efforts in 2011, such as an aggressive subpoena program for nonfilers and reconciling the city’s tax rolls against federal tax information.

Teal reported the city’s expenses through the third quarter as well. She said the general-fund expenditures were $16,813,141, representing 55 percent of the authorized expenditures for all of 2011, including appropriations, supplemental appropriations and carryover purchase orders from prior years.

Gahanna ended the third quarter with a total unencumbered general-fund balance of $13,352,908. This amount is $2,640,938 higher than the ending balance as of December 31, 2010. This is a result of increased revenue over expenditures and a reduction in encumbrances, according to Teal.

During 2011, the city’s mandatory general-fund reserve, based on 25 percent of the year’s planned revenue, is $5,581,637, leaving a $7,771,271 reserve balance as of Sept. 30.

“This only reaffirms what I said in March that now is not the time to approach the citizens of Gahanna for an income-tax increase,” Mayor Becky Stinchcomb said. “We were seeing some indications of improvements in revenues and expenses, and this report shows just that.”

The increased revenues from income taxes, local government funds and other tax collections show Gahanna’s economy is recovering, Teal said. Nonetheless, she said, financial challenges will continue for the city in 2012 and beyond as a result of reductions in revenue from decreased investment earnings, state reductions to the local government fund and the elimination of the estate tax.

“As we begin to plan for 2012, a conservative approach to fiscal management will be crucial for the city to continue providing excellent services to our residents and businesses within our available resources,” Teal said. “The healthy reserve that the city has built shows strength to the financial community while providing a reassurance to the residents that we are indeed a stable community.”