Hilliard City Council members reviewed the city's 2013 operating budget during a public hearing Nov. 26.

Hilliard City Council members reviewed the city's 2013 operating budget during a public hearing Nov. 26.

No residents spoke during the session and council members, having vetted the budget at previous meetings, allowed the ordinance adopting the budget to advance to a third and final reading Dec. 10.

An ordinance approving the 2013 capital-improvements budget was withdrawn at the Nov. 26 meeting because the city needed to advertise for its public hearing (see related story below). The ordinance approving the capital-improvements budget for 2013 is scheduled for a second reading and public hearing Dec. 10.

The estimated general-fund budget for 2013 is $20.28 million and reflects a 3.28 percent increase from the 2012 budget. In the previous two years, increases were 0.4 percent and 0.12 percent, respectively.

The estimated general-fund revenue is $20.3 million, $20,752 in excess of expenditures.

The city's general government expenses, those not attributable to a specific department and including property and casualty insurance and workers' compensation fees, are estimated at $1.7 million for 2013 and reflects an increase of 17.5 percent compared to last year.

Council members heard budget reports from department directors at the Nov. 19 meeting of Hilliard City Council's Finance and Administration Committee.

At the department level, the budget of the finance department for 2013 is $865,573, 4.74 percent less than the estimated expenditures for 2012.

The decrease results from restructuring personnel. A payroll specialist was moved to another department and an assistant was added, Deputy Finance Director David Delande said Nov. 19.

The budget for the city's information-technology division is $535,219, a 15.2 percent increase from 2012.

"Our city, particularly the police department, is dependent on (technology) 24/7, and the only way to provide it is by a contract. We believe such 24/7 availability is important for the safety of our citizens and employees," Mayor Don Schonhardt said.

The budget for the human-resources department is $359,208, an increase of 38 percent from the 2012 budget and a result of the department assuming payroll responsibilities from the finance department.

The lands and buildings department budget is $962,123, an increase of 3.22 percent from 2012.

The law department budget is $342,861, an increase of 7.4 percent from 2012.

The safety department budget is $8.2 million, of which $7.9 million is for personnel salaries and benefits. The 2013 budget figure is a 1.2 percent increase from 2012.

To save money, the safety department employs two lieutenants, rather than three, but there is an increase of about $100,000 for retirement benefits, as well as increases for K-9 care and housing for inmates at the county jail.

The public-services budget is $2.04 million, an 8.1 percent increase from 2012.

The recreation and parks budget is $2.8 million, an increase of less than 1 percent from 2012.

Parks and Recreation Department Director Steve Mazer outlined the department's numerous programs at the Nov. 19 committee meeting and reported revenue from pool membership, programs and concessions all increased this year.

The pool generated more than $800,000 in revenue, Mazer said. After deducting expenses, such as staffing and chemicals, the pool netted a profit of about $87,000, much higher than the industry average, Mazer said.