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City expects to end the year in the black

December 17, 2012
Morning Journal News

EAST LIVERPOOL - Despite serious cuts in funding over the past several years, officials expect the city to end the year in the black by just under $30,000.

During last week's finance committee meeting, members forwarded for City Council's consideration an ordinance making temporary appropriations totaling $14,256,725 for fiscal year 2013.

Although the budget ordinance showed only $13,483,612 in receipts expected for the year, Auditor Kim Woomer said there will be a carryover from 2012 to make up that difference, with a $27,000 balance expected for the end of this year.

The city has lost considerable revenue over the years, with a prime example being Local Government Fund monies, which went from $1.2 million annually to $13,500. Intangible tax and inheritance tax are also now eliminated, according to Woomer.

She anticipated hotel/motel tax revenue will be lower in the coming year.

On the other hand, Woomer said tax Commissioner Tracey Tennant and her staff have brought in extra income tax, which has helped make up for some of the loss.

It is anticipated $2.9 million may be realized in income tax in 2013, and permissive tax should increase due to an additional $5 fee placed on license plates.

Despite the increases, Chairman Sherrie Curtis said, "It's no way near what we've lost. If we increase collections by $100,000, we're still down that much."

Very few changes were made to next year's budget compared to 2012, although Woomer said $5,000 was earmarked for the municipal pool next year because Mayor Jim Swoger has been putting his own money into it for several years to keep it open to the public.

Changes in Municipal Court personnel brought about a brief discussion on how much more that might cost the city, with committee member Ryan Stovall predicting expenses will increase.

Long-time Clerk Janice Rodfong will be retiring, but will return to duty afterward to continue working, and a part-time person was hired to fill in for the new bailiff when she is off, according to committee members. In addition, a person has been hired to replace an employee who left last year.

Deputy Auditor Marilyn Bosco said Rodfong's buy-out was figured into the 2013 budget, although she didn't have that exact figure available at the meeting.

Stovall pointed out that Rodfong will return at her current rate, not the lower rate most new city hires will be making due to salary changes recently implemented by City Council.

Chairman Sherrie Curtis said a letter was sent to Judge Melissa Byers Emmerling, requesting that she pay at the lower rate for new hires as in other departments, but wasn't sure if she will comply, since the judge can set her own salaries.

After the first of the year, Woomer plans to meet with Curtis and the police chief to go over his expenses, she said, adding she would like to do the same with other department heads.

Next year's budget reflects a $1.7 million transfer from the general fund to the police department, $400,000 to the fire department and $80,000 to the street department.

It was noted this is a temporary budget, meaning changes can, and most likely will, be made as the year progresses and expenditures and receipts fluctuate.

In other matters, the committee also forwarded to council legislation authorizing payment of $3,000 to a vendor for court software and a "clean-up" ordinance finalizing appropriations for year-end.



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