Toledo Mayor Mike Bell presented the 2013 budget today and it plans to raid $13.96 million from the Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) fund while spending more money on parks and recreation.
Despite the rejection of a levy to support parks and recreation, the city will allocate approximately $175,000 more in the 2013 budget to support recreation activities for Toledo residents.
Yes, you read that correctly. They don't have enough income to cover the existing expenses, but they're going to spend MORE money on recreation - clearly an unnecessary expense.
If they raid the CIP this year as planned and divert another $14 million in 2013, we will have lost $76 million out of the CIP simply to pay for overspending in the general fund.
And there are no plans to ever repay these funds at all.
Here is the press release:
Bell administration releases 2013 operating budget
Recovery remains slow but steady, lost state revenues hamper growth
Mayor Michael P. Bell today released the City of Toledo’s 2013 proposed operating budget at a press conference that included his finance staff, safety force leaders and top administrators. The Mayor made clear that 2013 will pose fiscal challenges, but acknowledged that the city remains on a slow and steady path to economic recovery.
The 2013 proposed budget continued a commitment to public safety with additional police and fire classes. The Toledo Police Department currently has a class in the academy and will offer a police officer civil service exam on December 1, 2012. The exam will provide a new list of candidates, at least 45 of which will be selected to begin training in 2013. The Toledo Fire and Rescue Department will begin a new class of recruits on December 3, 2012 with a class of 30 to begin in 2013. The 2013 police and fire classes would not begin until current classes have completed their academy training.
The administration also maintained a commitment to quality of life issues affecting residents. Despite the rejection of a levy to support parks and recreation, the city will allocate approximately $175,000 more in the 2013 budget to support recreation activities for Toledo residents. The increase of 14% will support programs and staffing will remain steady.
The finance department is forecasting approximately 3.4% growth in income tax revenue over 2012. The budget anticipates nearly $163.9 million in revenue from income taxes supporting total general fund revenues of $243.5 million. The city will however be negatively impacted by the loss of local government funds and estate taxes shared from the State of Ohio as well as a significant decrease in property taxes paid to the city, following the countywide revaluation issued by the county auditor. If the levels for the Local Government Fund, property taxes and estate tax were the same as in 2011 a CIP transfer would not be needed. The lost revenues represent approximately $14.7 million. The administration expects to transfer approximately $13.96 million from CIP to the General Fund.
Despite the need for CIP transfer, the administration is expected to present a proposed capital budget in December recommending $32 million in major street and residential road construction and resurfacing, representing approximately 51 lane miles. The 2012 CIP budget allocated $28 million for streets. Funding will additionally be allocated for renovation of the existing Fire Station #3 and to build a new Fire Station #12 in order to address a gap in coverage in the northern part of the city. A request for proposals has been issued for the design of the two fire station projects.
“When I took office in 2010 the city faced a deficit of $48 million,” said Mayor Bell. “We faced the unthinkable prospect of having to lay off police officers and firefighters. This budget presents a far different story. We’ve continued to hire police and fire, held the line on taxes and fees, are providing the quality of life services our citizens deserve and have reestablished our rainy day fund.”
The mayor also recognized Toledo City Council for their diligence in passing the 2012 budget by the end of January and asked that council and the administration again work together and move swiftly to solicit community input, hold committee hearings, and pass the 2013 budget in January to provide department directors greater opportunity to monitor their budgets early in the year.
The City of Toledo Charter requires that the mayor present to City Council a proposed budget by November 15 each year. Also by charter, council has until March 31 to pass the operating budget.
The City of Toledo operating budget will be available online at www.toledo.oh.gov.