The cities of Heath and Newark are trying to find new ways to raise money for their general funds.

The cities of Heath and Newark are trying to find new ways to raise money for their general funds.

Heath City Council is scheduled to hear the second reading of an ordinance March 1 to reallocate the city's 1.5-percent income tax to give the general fund a larger chunk.

The ordinance would allocate 92.75 percent of tax revenue to the general fund, 5.25 percent to debt services and 2 percent to the capital-improvements fund.

Currently, 84.75 percent of the income-tax revenue goes to the general fund, and 10 percent goes to capital improvements. The debt-service allocation is the same.

Heath auditor Keith Alex-ander said he plans to ask council to amend the ordinance to reflect 91.75 percent of the revenue going to the general fund and 3 percent to the capital-improvements fund.

Alexander said the proposal would give the general fund about $364,000 more than the income tax provided last year. The general fund would see a total of about $4.8-million from city income-tax revenue.

"Basically, when the mayor began this budget, he was some $600,000 upside down," he said. "He asked the department heads to make cuts in non-personnel areas. Citywide, we were able to come up with almost $200,000 of the $600,000."

He said the city also found about $120,000 in revenue still being collected from the Redflex red-light cameras.

Because of the reallocation of the income tax, city cuts and the unexpected Redflex revenue, Alexander said, the city budget would be about $15,000 in the black this year.

Alexander said council is slated to hear the first reading of the permanent 2010 budget, which would reflect the income-tax reallocation, during its meeting at 7:30 p.m. March 1.

"The mayor has acknowledged that this is not a long-term solution, nor can it reduce capital-improvement funding this way for any length of time," Alexander said. "It's kind of a temporary fix, and I think the mayor has described it as the least of all of his bad options."

Newark's capital-improvements committee is in the process of reviewing a similar ordinance to reallocate part of its 1-percent income tax.

The proposal would allocate 90 percent of the revenue to the general fund, and the remainder would go to the capital-improvements fund, which is used to pay for large construction projects.

Currently, 86 percent of the income-tax revenue goes to the general fund.

Stephen Johnson, Newark auditor, said the change would provide the city's general fund with about $468,000.

In difficult economic times, he said, municipalities need more for their general funds than for capital-improvement projects.

Johnson said his recommendation to the capital-improvements committee and to city council is to approve the legislation and reallocate the income-tax revenue.

"My recommendation is to go ahead and do that for this year only," he said. "But I think that we need to review several operating procedures so we don't have to rely on capital improvements in the future."

The capital-improvements committee met last week and rejected the reallocation legislation.

Johnson said the group would be asked to review the legislation again during a special meeting Monday, March 1.

If the committee were to approve the legislation, it would move to city council for final approval.