The city of Toledo’s latest tax revenue figures released Thursday indicated again an improving local economy and showed that the Bell administration is just below the spending limit set up for 2012.
Individual income tax collections through Aug. 31 were 2.44 percent greater than the first eight months of last year. So far the city collected slightly more than $6 million from the 2.25 percent payroll tax from individuals — up $144,490 from the same period last year, said City Finance Director Patrick McLean.
Spending from the city’s general fund — which pays for departments including police, fire, and recreation — is just under budget by about 0.2 percent.
Of all the city departments, recreation was over budget. It has spent $868,836 of its $1,091,654 budget.
Parks and forestry was also over budget, having spent $1.41 million of its $2.01 million.
The city’s economic development department was far under budget. It has spent only $218,568 — or 18.5 percent — of the budgeted $1.17 million.
Unlike last year, police and fire overtime are below budget. The city budgeted $2 million for fire overtime. It spent nearly $4.6 million in 2011. Police overtime is projected to cost $2.92 million this year. The cost for it was $3.18 million in 2011.
“We pushed very hard on the fire side,” Mr. McLean said. “The fire chief has been very diligent on sick time [abuse] and we are seeing those results. He has more than the anticipated number of retirements coming, and that is why we may go over budget before the year is out, so that is why we have been sounding that alarm.”
Mr. McLean sounded a note of caution about the data, which he said were positive, but he stressed that the city was still not where it should be.
Bell administration officials said they would end the year with about $1 million extra in the general fund, but that comes after taking about $12.6 million from the city’s capital improvements budget — used for street repairs and other expenses.
Council President Joe McNamara advocated not taking that $1 million from capital improvements.
“We use the CIP [capital improvements fund] as a rainy day fund,” he said. “We are in a hole and we are slowly coming out, so throw some dirt back in the hole. Don’t artificially play with the levels that paint an inaccurate picture of our financial position.”
To stay afloat the past several years, the city has used money from its capital improvements budget. The city ended 2011 with a $326,000 surplus.
Half of any general-fund surplus is supposed to go into the rainy-day fund.
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