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Lower revenue, spending evident in 2013 city budget

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Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough.

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During its regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 17, Sylvania City Council unanimously approved the 2013 city budget.

The budget proposes no increase in tax rates or reductions in services for 2013.

The budget establishes General Fund spending of $11,636,000, which includes most city operations. There are separate funds for operations of the water and sewer departments.

In the last few years, the City of Sylvania has lost over $2,000,000 of annual revenue. The Ohio Legislature eliminated the Ohio estate tax beginning Jan. 1, 2013, reducing city revenue by about $750,000 annually. In addition, the state of Ohio is reducing its decades-long program of local government funds, costing the city another $300,000 of annual state revenue.

The Lucas County Auditor’s reduction of property values for 2013 means the City will lose $207,000 in annual revenue. Lower interest rates paid on city reserves has meant about $1,000,000 less in annual investment income. On the positive side, city income tax revenue has recovered and is now ahead of 2008 levels before the recession.

For 2013, city spending is being reduced 6.1 percent. Much of the savings is the result of retirements due to changes in the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System. Some vacated positions will not be filled while other positions will be merged. There will be fewer people working for the City of Sylvania in 2013 than when I became mayor in 1996.

City reserves have been used the last few years to balance the budget without raising taxes or reducing services. For 2012, about $2,100,000 was spent from reserves. In 2013, the budget anticipates spending about $900,000 in reserves to balance the budget, plus $500,000 to improve the Maplewood Marketplace for a new $1,000,000 payroll business tenant.

Lower spending of reserves or a balanced budget is anticipated in 2014, depending upon the level of income tax receipts and capital improvement spending. The city will continue making improvements to roads and utility infrastructure as grant funds become available to leverage city capital improvement funds.

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