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Net drop predicted for city's '11 revenue

The Bell administration had good news Tuesday regarding Toledo's main source of income next year, but bad news for most other major forms of revenue.

City Finance Director Patrick McLean predicted a 2.6 percent increase in income tax collections next year when compared with 2010, but he said other revenue decreases will more than offset that gain.

"We have mixed news on revenues," he said during a morning news conference.

Mr. McLean said the city could collect $144.95 million in income tax, which is $3.62 million over the $141.33 million expected for this year.

When City Council on March 30 approved its 2010 spending plan, it assumed $138.1 million from income taxes. The city expects an additional $3.23 million in delinquent collections.

However, Toledo's share of property taxes could be down $400,000 to $13.9 million, estate taxes could be down $1 million to $3 million, and state revenue share could be down $3.8 million next year to $11.5 million.

Total revenue for those sources - which account for about 77 percent of the city's revenues and affect the city's general fund - could total $173.35 million next year, which is about $1.6 million less than this year.

Mr. McLean said the state's projected $8 billion shortfall could greatly affect all Ohio municipalities, but the city won't know for sure until late 2011 how much money would come from the state revenue share.

"From a revenue perspective, 2011 will be just as difficult as 2010," Mr. McLean added. "We are seeing a slight rebound in income tax collections which is a positive sign for the local economy."

Clarence Coleman, the city's commissioner of taxation, said the 2011 income tax prediction is based on unemployment trends. The Toledo unemployment rate fell from 12.9 to 11.9 percent in the September report.

Total income tax collections have been declining since 2007, when $169.7 million was collected.

The amount collected totaled $154.4 million in 2008 and $141.5 million in 2009.

The city's 2011 general fund budget is likely to be even more austere than this year's because of anticipated labor costs.

Agreements that helped the city through the 2009 and 2010 budgets will catch up with the city in 2011, when it faces $4.52 million in payments for deferred overtime to Firefighters Local 92, the Fire Chiefs Association, and the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association that were reached during midterm negotiations earlier this year.

Added to that is $5.2 million more that the city must come up with to pay for a 3.5 percent wage increase for police and fire/rescue personnel and a 2 percent increase for AFSCME units beginning in January.

The Bell administration has already issued a warning to every city department head to be prepared to slash an additional 10 percent from their 2011 spending budgets.

The city charter requires the Bell administration to submit a balanced budget to City Council by Nov. 15.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.

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