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Published: Wednesday, 12/28/2011

Council approves $40.3M '12 budget

Plan leaves $210,974 deficit for city

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sylvania City Council has adopted a 2012 operating budget of $40.3 million, but the spending plan is to be adjusted because it leaves the city in deficit by $210,974.

The budget includes the transfer of $857,490 from the capital improvements reserve, which is to be $13.3 million at the end of 2011.

The council vote was 6-1, with Doug Haynam dissenting. He noted that in October council suspended the city's 1.5-mill "tax holiday," for one year, a move that will raise $630,000. He said he believed council should be addressing spending cuts this year as well instead of waiting until 2012.

"My view is that if we can increase revenues, we also should be able to look at cuts," Mr. Haynam said.

The tax holiday was suspended for 12 months effective Jan. 1. It was granted incrementally in 2007 and 2008, when the city's finances were stronger.

Since its adoption, the tax relief has saved property owners about $3.5 million. The millage, when restored, will cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $45 next year. The $630,000 raised will be used for debt service.

Spending for 2011 is projected to be $39 million, not including about $6 million in debt that was retired. Next year, the city expects to lose $320,000 in state support and incur $746,000 in new debt service.

Council in October approved a one-year collective bargaining agreement with the city's police patrolmen, sergeants, dispatchers, and maintenance workers. All four contracts had a 1 percent pay raise and $450 signing bonus.

The agreements were to be for a year so both sides could see if Ohio voters affirmed or rejected Issue 2, the measure to retain Senate Bill 5, which restricted bargaining for public employees. The issue was rejected by a wide margin in November.

Now that savings from Issue 2 would not be realized, Mr. Haynam told council, "I would be very happy to ask union employees to forgo raises we agreed to in October. My biggest concern is we are raising taxes now but are promising to address more stringent budget cuts next year."

Mr. Haynam suggested that council should rescind the raises planned for nonunion workers, who include secretaries and clerical employees. These increases, which have not been approved by council, would be the same as the pay raises the unions received.

Councilman Mark Luetke disagreed. He said the planned raises amounted to 0.3 percent of spending for operations, and rescission would disproportionately affect lower-paid female workers. Mr. Haynam's suggestion received no support.

Council also froze its own pay, which is $10,243 annually, with the council president receiving an additional $1,200.

In other business, council approved a request from Sylvania Franciscan Health to issue $4.5 million in tax-exempt hospital revenue bonds through the city. The debt will not be an obligation of the city.

The proceeds of the bond sale will be used to add 17 assisted-living beds to the Rosary Care Center, according to Bob Tracz, Sylvania Franciscan Health's vice president of finance and chief financial officer. The care center on the main campus in Sylvania is a residence facility for senior Sisters of St. Francis.

Council also reappointed council member Katie Cappellini and Bruce Groves to the board of the Sylvania Area Joint Recreational District and Carol Lindhuber to the zoning board of appeals. It also confirmed Mayor Craig Stough's reappointment of Ken Marciniak to the municipal planning commission.



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