The latest figures from Reynoldsburg Mayor Brad McCloud still show an expected deficit in 2010, but he hopes to have a balanced budget to present to city council by Dec. 7.
While Reynoldsburg City Council's finance committee continues to comb through the city's 2010 finances, Mayor Brad McCloud says he expects to have firmer numbers and hopefully a balanced budget to present by Dec. 7.
Estimates he presented Monday, Nov. 23, were different from those outlined at a special finance committee Nov. 9.
The earlier figures showed a 2010 budget of $13,279,647 with estimated revenues at $12,578,952 leaving a $700,695 deficit.
The revised numbers from McCloud show an estimated budget of $13,389,352 and anticipated revenues of $12,780,752, bringing the expected shortfall down to $608,600.
McCloud said the budget is still a work in progress and further work is still needed to get it balanced. He said he should have firmer numbers to present by Dec. 7.
"There is still the potential of something substantial coming in soon," he said, although he would not give any details. "That is not a given, but it is a possibility. Sometime between now and Dec. 7, this will be a much more meaningful, more approximated and balanced budget."
Councilman Ron Stake, who chairs the finance committee, asked the source of the $201,800 increase in estimated revenue for 2010.
City Auditor Richard Harris said a couple of potential sources of increased revenue are possible. One of those is a possible increase in the city's bed tax from 4 to 6 percent next year, if council approves.
"From talking to several council people, we think there's a real good opportunity the bed tax will pass," Harris said. "Secondly, we will be turning in for the Dec. 7 committee meeting a legislative request to no longer fund the $50,000 per year into the rainy day fund, the city's contingency reserve fund.
"That would be another $50,000 that would go to the general fund and we're also looking at the potential of if enterprise funds are being charged correctly," he said. "We're going to look at what the fair market value of what those services are, which would be at least another $30,000 to $40,000."
McCloud said worksheets for each department should be completed and will accompany the budget request he plans to present for a finance committee review on Dec. 7.
Councilman Mel Clemens said no city department should be left out while officials investigate possible ways to bring down the $608,600 deficit, but he did single out the safety department budget as one place to look.
"It's hard to do until you get the final figures, but when we think about it, over 60 percent of our budget is the safety department," Clemens said. "We've got to come up with that $600,000 on the departments. We're going to have to consider reductions in the safety department."
Councilman Fred Deskins agreed.
"We need to get down to the nitty-gritty when we know we are at that point, and then try to come up with a percentage and make all departments do their part," Deskins said.
"You hate to reduce your staff, but we won't be the only city that reduces their staff in a situation like this," Clemens added. "It's no different than any other business: You have to balance your budget."
Stake said city officials will have to establish priorities.
"We can't sit up here and say, 'OK, we'll cut 10 percent,' you know. I mean, where is that coming from?" he asked. "Somebody's going to have to decide what that 10 percent is going to be. It's the mayor's budget and I believe the administration should be the folks that make that decision."