Monday, November 15, 2010

Toledo's 2011 budget

Press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2010

Bell Administration Releases 2011 Operating Budget
Mayor Michael P. Bell today released the 2011 Operating Budget at a press conference that included his administration’s finance staff, Safety Director, Police and Fire Chiefs and other directors. The Mayor made clear that 2011 again poses fiscal challenges for the city, noting an environment of increased expenditures and declining resources, but also emphasized that the budget includes no new or increased general fund taxes or fees.

As previously announced, the administration is anticipating a slight increase in income tax collections and have projected $145.5 million in 2011, 3.0% over 2010 collections. However, also as expected, local government funds from the state are projected to drop by $3.8 million as the state works with an $8 billion projected deficit.

The Bell Administration has recommended bridging the gap with $6.3 million transfer from the Capital Improvements Fund to the General Fund; $4.85 million in sale of assets, part of real estate negotiations that are currently in progress, but not expected to come to fruition before the close of 2010; and $3.3 million from trust fund balances moved to the general fund.

The administration will also work on a health care dependent eligibility audit, reduced utility expenditures and medical coverage savings. An early retirement plan will also be pursued. Responding to a survey taken in Spring 2010, approximately 150 City of Toledo employees said they may be interested in an early retirement buy out, however the administration hopes that some may have re-considered since that time.

The budget also maintains city services with the addition of a fire class and police class. Both safety forces expect significant retirements in 2011 contributing to lower manpower levels and making it necessary to continue to train new recruits to ensure delivery of safety services. The proposed budget includes funding for a class of 50 firefighters as well as a class of 25 police officers.

The Bell administration has also proposed to turn control of the City’s refuse collection operations to the Lucas County Solid Waste Management District beginning September 1, 2011. It costs the City approximately $16.3 million annually to collect and dispose of refuse, including the debts service on the new automated trucks and carts, landfill cell development and replacement costs for vehicles and carts. Current refuse fees bring in approximately $8.9 million in revenue per year. It is expected that regionalizing the service with the county will bring greater efficiency in service delivery and will save approximately $2.8 million in 2011.

Finally, Bell emphasized the future challenges lying ahead as the administration looks toward collective bargaining with six of the City’s eight unions. As costs, especially wages and benefits, continue to outpace revenues the City must make significant structural changes in employee compensation and benefits. The Mayor noted the critical role cost containment plays for the financial survival of the City and asked for Council’s help in making those needed changes.

The full City of Toledo 2011 Operating Budget is available online at www.toledo.oh.gov

Mayor's cover letter to city council is available here.
Budget is available here.

I'll be looking at the budget over the next several days and will post further after analyzing it.

2 comments:

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

Not being as close to the budget situation as I once was, I wondered how much of the $4.85 million in assets being used to balance the deficit were the same assets used to balance the 2010 budget?

Is it just me, or does it appear that while the orchestra has changed, the tap dance music where the budget is concerned remains the same?

Maggie Thurber said...

Tim - that's a great question that I've been researching...and yes, the orchestra has changed, but the tune is not entirely the same. I guess I'm looking at Bell's budget as more pragmatic than Finkbeiner's and Ford's...

The bigger problem is city council, as they make the final decision and then spend the money.

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