CIRCLEVILLE- The budget process for city council is underway, and while not a complete overhaul, some changes will be made.
CIRCLEVILLE— The budget process for city council is underway, and while not a complete overhaul, some changes will be made.
Gayle Spangler, city auditor, said there will not be many changes in the budget for 2014, and that the general fund and the safety fund are the major tax-funded portions of the budget.
“For the most part, the general fund and the safety fund have been stagnant and they haven’t seen any huge influxes or reductions between 2011 and 2012,” she said. “They’ve been pretty much on par with where they normally are. For the most part our general operating dollars have not declined, especially income tax, but it’s more or less stagnant and it’s been that way for quite a while.”
Income tax will have a different percentage split under the proposed budget for 2014, with more funds now going to the general fund than in 2013.
“Normally it was 50 percent to the general fund and 50 percent to the capital improvement fund,” Spangler said. “[Council] changed those ratios to prop up the general fund because there’s nothing in the general fund but basic operating costs and people.”
For 2014, distribution will be 65 percent to the general fund and 35 percent to the capital fund, she said, which means very little money for major street improvement.
“When you cut the capitol improvement fund like that, what suffers is the streets,” she said. “This year we have $291,000 for our streets. Compared to 2006 we spent $576,000 on streets. Because revenue is stagnant and because expenditures are not stagnant, they change the income tax and our streets suffer.”
Spangler said the only thing the city can do is put a tax increase on the ballot for voters to decide.
“I think [city officials] are trying to bring in some development, and there is talk with OCU and those things will generate revenue; but to get any significant revenue you will have to have a tax increase,” Spangler said.
“The general fund has been cut in years past to where there’s not a whole lot left to cut,” Spangler said. “Most of these departments are running on their supply budgets have been frozen for at least three years and a lot of the personnel has already been stripped out.”
Despite those cuts municipal court will see an increase in appropriations for 2014.
“Judge [Gary] Dumm did ask for another probation officer and two part time security personnel, but that’s the only department in the city that has seen any expansion,” Spangler said.
Dumm said municipal court did ask for the additional security and probation officer, but they also support much of what they spend with money they take in from the court proceedings.
“We are very prudent about our expenditures and we support ourselves with money out of our special projects fund, which is non-tax dollars for the people we serve in our courts,” Dumm said.
The budget will have its second reading on Dec. 3, followed by a third during the Dec. 17 meeting.
This budget will be in ordinance form. The final 2014 budget will be approved after the start of the year, with any additions or reductions, and be made the permanent 2014 budget.