FAIRFIELD – A transition to a fulltime fire department in 2023 along with inflationary costs has resulted in a budget that is nearly 15 percent higher than 2022, city officials said.
Next year’s budget of $87.4 million compares to this year’s budget of $81.6 million. The budget includes spending of $34.6 million in the general fund compared to $32.2 million in the 2022 budget.
The budget received council approval earlier this week. The city’s capital improvement program will be up for review and approval in March.
“It (budget) sets the pace and tone for 2023,” said Councilman Tim Meyers, who heads council finance and budget committee.
Fairfield revenue projected at $102 million
At the same time the budget is increasing, so too, is revenue, said Scott Timmer, city manager.
The city’s revenue for 2023 is projected at $102 million, an increase of 14.64 percent.
“That is a large increase. It’s up about $13 million,” Timmer said.
It includes revenues of $36.1 million in the general fund, up 11.34 percent from last year.
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Fueling most of the increase in revenue is two things, Timmer said. Income tax is projected to increase by about $4.85 million – after being held flat for three budget cycles.
Part of that income tax increase comes from expansion from business continues. Koch Foods is expanding with two production lines expected to come online next year. Fairfield Commerce Park is also expanding with job growth expected to begin next year.
Fire levy expected to bring in $11.2 million annually
A fire levy approved by voters in May is expected to bring in $11.2 million annually – an increase of $4.8 million from revenue the two older levies it replaced brought in.
The levy dollars will be used in combination with federal and state grants to transition to a fulltime fire department by the end of next year.
The Federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response – SAFER – grant and Ohio Fire Responder Recruitment, Retention and Resilience Program grants will pay the cost of additional firefighters for a set period of time, after which the cost would transfer to the city.
Altogether the city will have added 18 fulltime firefighters when the transition is complete next year.
Fairfield department budgets, increases
Selected city department budgets and increases over last year:
Finance: $4,026,676, up 1.37 percent
Police: $15.9 million, up 7.86 percent
Municipal Court: $2,798,448, up 9.47 percent
Fire: $11.3 million, up $19.88 percent
Public Works: $6.5 million, up 3.5 percent
Parks and Recreation: $6 million, up 8.84 percent
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Fairfield budget to grow nearly 15 percent in 2023