Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins released his first proposed budget today — making some changes to the 2014 spending plan former Mayor Mike Bell suggested, but still requiring the city to take millions away from street repair to fund other operations.
Mayor Collins has warned repeatedly since taking office last month that the 2014 budget would be austere. The mayor said he would restore some of the deep budget cuts Mayor Bell proposed for departments such as the Municipal Court and Clerk of Courts office – which are funded by the city but do not answer to the mayor or City Council.
“Our city faces budgetary challenges in 2014; our local government fund dollars have been reduced from $21.1 million in 2012 to $8.1 million in 2014,” Mr. Collins wrote in the proposed budget. “Estate tax, which brought in $3.4 million in 2013 has been eliminated in 2014.”
The Collins budget predicts a $418,000 general fund surplus since total revenues are projected to reach $245.28 million while 2014 spending is set to be $244.86 million. The proposed 2014 spending is a slight increase over the 2013 amount.
In November, 2013, the Bell administration recommended the city transfer $14.1 million from the capital improvements plan budget — the same amount taken out of that fund to balance the general fund in 2013. Then Mayor-elect Collins and then-Councilman George Sarantou, who is now city finance director, both said that number should be reduced.
Reducing the amount taken away from street repair to pay for things like police and fire operations from was also among Mayor Collins' campaign promises.
However, Mayor Collins is still recommending council approve a 2014 budget that takes $14.1 million from capital improvements money and use it for the general fund.
Council must approve the budget by March 31.