TWINSBURG – City Council is considering approving 2023 temporary appropriations that are up about $908,475 (3.25 percent) in the general fund and about $1.97 million (4.48 percent) in all funds compared to the 2022 permanent appropriations.
The appropriations were discussed at the Nov. 22 finance committee meeting and then presented to Council for first reading. A vote on the temporary appropriations is likely Dec. 13, while a permanent budget must be adopted by the end of March 2023.
Finance director Sarah Buccigross told the finance committee the general fund budget will be balanced, with 2023 expenses estimated at $28.86 million, compared to $27.95 for 2022. In all funds, appropriations are set at $45.98 million, compared to $44 million.
“Next year’s increase in the general fund budget results mostly from growing the infrastructure program, an Ohio Department of Natural Resources parks/rec grant and wage and price increases,” Buccigross said.
The wage increase for bargaining unit and non-bargaining unit employees will be 2 percent.
“Sixty-three percent of our general fund is devoted to employees, while 21 percent goes toward operations and 9 percent toward capital projects and roads,” Buccigross said. “Another 7 percent goes toward other expenses. The safety forces get about 35 percent of the general fund total.”
At the end of October, the city’s general fund balance was $16.83 million and the overall balance was $32.69 million. The latter includes $4.63 million in the sewer revenue fund and $3.15 million in the sewer improvement fund.
The 2023 general fund breakdown by departments is as follows: General government, $7.59 million; public works, $6.58 million; police, $4.37million; fire, $4.43 million; communications, $1.35 million; parks and rec, $700,300; IT, $636,850.
Engineering, $661,300; finance, $478,700; building, $523,645; law, $349,085; mayor, $252,115; council, $237,330; economic development, $235,880; human resources, $206,050; senior citizens, $210,415; civil service, $32,435; and planning, $3,340.
Some larger categories of additional expenditures are: sewers, $3.93 million; street maintenance, $2.43 million; American Rescue Plan, $385,000; police and fire levy, $1.67 million; golf course, $1.65 million; fitness center, $1.4 million; capital improvements, $1.35 million; sewer improvements, $1.49 million; general bond retirement, $675,000; federal grants, $400,000; and state grants, $378,250.
Expenses for the city’s 2023 infrastructure improvement program are estimated at $5.03 million, with $2 million devoted to the Dooridge waterline and sanitary/storm sewers project. State grants could reduce local shares for various projects.
Because bids received earlier in 2022 for the Dooridge project were a lot higher than the estimated cost, the city rebid the project and recently awarded a contract to Fechko Excavating LLC for a lower bid.
Among other major capital improvement expenditures will be the first year payment for a new fire department ladder truck (total cost is $1.75 million), $195,000 to replace the East Edlewood pedestrian bridge and roof repairs/new pool pak at the fitness center.
Buccigross forecasts a $144,000 surplus for the fitness center, but that doesn’t take into consideration the financing needed for the roof/pool pak project. She said other entities may contribute to that project.
“The fitness center has gone this year without a subsidy, and it looks like it won’t need one next year. No promises, but it looks pretty good,” she said.
She said the Gleneagles Golf Course subsidy from the general fund is expected to be $199,000 in 2023, which includes capital expenditures of $155,000 for a new mower and replacement batteries for the golf carts.
Clubhouse restaurant/banquet center operators will pay $102,000 in rent, while the city will pay $69,445 in property tax for outsourcing services there. The debt service bond payment for the clubhouse is expected to be $405,000.
Buccigross said there were 35,040 rounds played at the golf course through October. The total for all of 2021 was 37,219 rounds.
For the first 10 months of 2022, golf course revenue was $1.47 million, which included a $135,000 subsidy early in the year. Expenses were $1.26 million. “The course’s annual budget is always based on having a good season weatherwise,” Buccigross said.
She noted although the sewer fund is expected to be fully self-sustaining in 2023, Council should eventually consider the possibility of slight incremental annual increases in sewer bills and the water utility fee.
Buccigross expects about $24.75 million to be derived from income tax collections. That figure takes into consideration that more people are working at home, which has been a common practice since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Councilman Bill Furey urges residents who normally work out of town but are working at home now to ask their employers to direct their withheld income taxes to Twinsburg. Otherwise, the payments will go to the city where they normally work.
“We will have a better indication of the annual income tax revenue after seeing the January and February collections,” said Buccigross. “That will enable us to plug a more accurate figure into the permanent appropriations adopted in March.”
Collection of a 2.4-mill property tax passed by voters in 2021 began this year, and it generated $1.76 million through Oct. 31. Police and fire pensions are expected to be fully funded with that money in 2023, as is the safety forces capital budget of $680,500.
Buccigross explained that with the rapid fluctuations in pricing for various materials and equipment, Council may have to approve paying higher amounts after approving the initial purchases.
“That’s just how fast things are moving right now,” she said. “It may not happen, but I don’t want Council to be shocked if it does. We just can’t keep up with how quickly the pricing is changing.”
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This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Twinsburg’s 2023 appropriations set at nearly $46M