Council hammers out details of budget

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published:

Hudson -- The city anticipates spending $1.1 million more than it collects in 2013, but the carryover from 2012 will allow the city to maintain a healthy, positive balance.

Council is scheduled to vote on the budget Dec. 19.

The city as of November projected revenue for 2012 at $1.4 million higher than originally budgeted, increasing the carryover to 2013 by the same amount.

The city anticipates revenue for 2013 at $18.5 million compared to $21.9 million for 2012, according to the city's November projections. The city anticipates spending $19.6 million compared to $21 million in 2012.

Revenue will be lower in 2013 due to decreases in property tax collections, interest revenue, estate tax collections, and local government funding, according to Finance Director Jeff Knoblauch. The slow economy and state government cuts are to blame, Knoblauch said.

The city plans to reduce expenses from 2012 to 2013 by about $1.5 million by trimming the budgets of several departments, but not laying off any employees. The biggest department budget reduction is in street and sidewalk construction, where the city plans to spend $705,000 less.

The city expects to finish 2012 with a carryover of nearly $10 million.

The city expects to finish 2013 with a carryover of $8.8 million, equal to 45 percent of the city's expenses.

The city reported revenue for 2012 is expected to be $1.4 million higher than its projections at the beginning of the year, leading to a larger carryover to 2013 than previously anticipated. The city aims for a carryover each year equal to at least 40 percent of the city's expenses.

While the carryover in 2012 and 2013 exceeds 40 percent, the city anticipates the carryover falling to 37 percent in 2015. To avoid that, Council will have to look at making cuts or adding revenue to stop annual expenses from exceeding revenue, according to

Department reports

Council reviewed the budgets for about half of the departments Dec. 4 and will review the remaining departments Dec. 6. Council members have asked department representatives about expenses and their recommend changes. If they're satisfied with the changes, Council will approve them with the budget Dec. 19.

The city will have to decide in 2013 what to do about the community development director position. City Planner Mark Richardson is serving as the interim community development director following Tom King's retirement earlier this year.

The city will have to decide whether to promote Richardson permanently and/or add somebody new to the department.

Richardson recommended the city add another employee to the department to help manage a workload that has increased by 70 percent in the last two years. Residential home construction has gone from 12 in 2011 to an estimated 62 in 2012, Richardson said, and several developers could start building in the near future.

The city also would like to study the second phase of the downtown redevelopment in 2013 and has applied for a grant from the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study for funding, said City Manager Anthony Bales.

The First & Main mixed-use development is the first phase of the downtown redevelopment. The second phase involves the land north of First & Main where the salt dome, school bus garage and some commercial properties are located.

Police Chief David Robbins proposed reducing expenses in his department by delaying the replacement of three new cruisers by one year and instead consider purchasing only one 4-wheel drive vehicle in 2013. The city also plans to spend $25,000 in 2013 to study truck traffic on state routes 91 and 303, according to City Engineer Thom Sheridan. The last study was done 10 years ago.

The city plans to use $100,000 from the parks department to help fund the city-owned Ellsworth Meadows golf course, Knoblauch said.

The Parks Department has two major capital projects planned in 2013 -- the paving of the Hudson Springs Park parking lot for $195,000 and the first phase of Veterans Trail from the Boston Heights border to Prospect Road for $800,000.

In addition, the Parks Department plans to spend $58,000 to study the potential for a year-round facility at Hudson Springs Park.

"We're still in the study phase and looking at other facilities," said Rob Swedenborg, chair of the park board.

The Economic Development Department plans to provide $50,000 in funding to TECHudson, a business incubator, with an additional $25,000 if the incubator can raise $25,000 from other sources. Council will review the agreement in January.

TECHudson had asked for $125,000 in funding.

In addition, Atlas Advertising will present its plans to promote and market Hudson to businesses in March or April. Council will decide whether to spend $89,000 in 2013 to implement the plan at that time.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

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