Two of Canal Winchester City Council's final acts of 2019 will be setting the 2020 budget and new salary ranges for city employees.

The spending measures are expected to receive approval during council's next meeting Dec. 16, which is the last meeting of 2019.

"I'm very comfortable and confident that this budget shows how financially sound we are at the moment," city finance director Amanda Jackson told council during a Nov. 18 work session, detailing next year's spending plan.

General fund spending, which accounts for everything from salaries and benefits to police protection, street maintenance and the swimming pool, is estimated at just under $10.1 million -- a 14% increase over 2019.

According to Jackson, the budgeted increase is reflected in more than $1.2 million for the planned 90-acre multipurpose McGill Park along Lithopolis-Winchester Road.

The city recently learned that it received conditional approval for a federal land and conservation grant from the National Park Service, which would provide as much as $500,000.

No completion date has been set for the park, said Matt Peoples, public works director.

Because the grant hasn't been received, that money must be accounted for in the 2020 Capital Projects Fund, Jackson told council.

The grant is administered through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The program provides up to 50 percent reimbursement assistance and has awarded more than $152 million to projects in Ohio since its inception in 1965, according to information from ODNR.

General fund revenue is projected at approximately $9.8 million in 2020 -- an increase of more than 11% from 2019.

Revenue from income taxes, the largest revenue source, are expected to jump 4% to $7.2 million.

Other large revenue sources include building/development permit fees and property taxes.

Council also has been reviewing the pay scales for city employees. The last review was completed in 2016. This review does not reflect employee annual raises.

The new salary scale expected to take effect in 2020 would bump salaries from a minimum of 4% to a maximum of 17%, depending on the position.

"We had a long-term employee leave this year for a higher paying job," Peoples said. "When we went to replace that employee, the two finalists were looking at taking over a $2.50 an hour decrease in pay. Both of them had good qualifications. The person we did select ended up not taking the job ... pay was the biggest issue."

Positions receiving the largest increase (17%) are maintenance tech and wastewater employees. Hourly rates would range from a minimum $20.03 to a maximum $35.63, depending on experience and classification.

"I don't see that any of this is out of line," councilman Patrick Lynch said. "It's pretty reasonable actually."

The salary ranges for the city's highest-paid positions -- public-works director, construction-services administrator, finance director and development director -- would increase from a minimum of $75,250 to $78,260.25 (4%) to a maximum of $108,721 to $115,244.90 (6%).

"The goal here is to make us competitive," Jackson said.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews