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Published: Thursday, 1/27/2011

City budget saddled with up to $6 million deficit from 2010

The city of Toledo's budget this year will be stressed even further with a carry-over deficit from 2010 totaling as much as $6 million.

City Finance Director Patrick McLean said Thursday that the city will “fall a little short on the revenue side” of its ledger book and “a little long on the expenditures side.”

Mr. McLean said the deficit, which could range from $3 million to $6 million, would be addressed by taking more money out of the city's capital improvements budget, which is used to pay for street repairs and other majors projects. The city has already used $7 million from that account to try and balance the 2010 general fund budget, but now it will need to transfer even more money, he said.

“We can transfer as much as all of the money that goes from the 0.75 percent income tax, which would be closer to $15 million, but we are not going to transfer that much,” he said.

The general fund is used to pay for police, fire, refuse, and other operations.

“We have already planned in our budget figures to move at least $7 million, so there is a gap even after moving $7 million,” Mr. McLean explained. “So it's a question of how much more we might want to move.”

Although income taxes — which is by far the largest source of general fund revenue — collected in 2010 exceeded the budgeted amount, other revenues for the city fell short. The city so far has collected $143.22 million from the 2.25 percent income tax and from delinquent collections. That number is $1.89 million more than planned for 2010.

Mr. McLean also noted that the city is still collecting 2010 income taxes.

Revenues from sources like real estate taxes, estate taxes, joint economic development zone income, red light cameras, court costs and fees, and monthly refuse fees were all down and below 2010 budgeted amounts. Red light cameras, for example, only generated $787,000 in 2010 — not the $2.1 million the city had hoped for, Mr. McLean said.

The refuse fee collections were way down — almost $4.7 million below budget — because the cost to households was significantly reduced.

Overall, city general fund revenues in 2010 were $221.22 million, which is $6.2 million less than what was expected when City Council passed the 2010 budget early last year.

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