Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Toledo's 2012 Operating Budget

Mayor Mike Bell has presented the 2012 Operating Budget for the City of Toledo. Here are links to the various documents:

Mayor's cover letter

Budget in detail

2012 budget summary

State revenue sharing

General fund history 2001-2012

The budget again transfers money from the Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) Fund, but 2012 is the last year that can be done under the proposal approved by voters. It again counts on some funds from the sale of assets, but most assets that could be sold have been. It predicts a slight increase in revenue from income taxes and a reduction (finally!) in Recreation programs. (I thought those should have been reduced years ago instead of raiding the CIP.)

It also *assumes* concessions from the city's labor unions. If concessions are not agreed to, the budget will be higher, requiring either layoffs, tax increases, other reductions or a combination of all three - though the press release calls it 'amending' the budget.

Press Release from City of Toledo:

Bell Administration releases 2012 operating budget

Mayor Michael P. Bell today released the 2012 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 2012 again poses fiscal challenges for the city and will require a change in mindset and acceptance of reality to address the lingering structural deficit.

Ensuring a balanced budget will once again require at $10.85 million transfer from the CIP fund to the general fund. Under the current authorization from Toledo voters, 2012 is the last year that this will be allowed. The Mayor also warned of the expiration of the ¾% levy at the conclusion of 2012. The city has relied on one-time revenues, such as the sale of assets, for the past several budget cycles, and as advised these revenue sources are becoming increasingly scarce. The 2012 budget includes an estimate of $480,000 in asset sales. Additionally, the administration expects only to receive $10.6 million in local government revenue, a reduction from $15.1 million in 2011. Estate taxes received from the state will remain stagnant in 2012, but will be eliminated in 2013 leaving a gap of approximately $3 million.

Income tax collections in 2012 will generate approximately $154.50 million in revenue, an increase of 2.63% over 2011. Overall, general fund revenue is anticipated to reach $224.19 million before the CIP funds transfer. Expenditures however are expected to top $235.04 million in the general fund and $591.15 million across all funds.

“We continue to walk a tight rope in allocating resources that maintain the services our citizens expect and deserve with the money available to us,” Bell said. “Our dependence on the CIP fund in place of real structural change that includes support for employee contracts in line with the reality of our financial abilities will continue to mean roads are not paved and other capital needs are denied in order to pay salaries and benefits.”

The administration has recommended police and fire classes of 30 recruits each to begin in December 2012. The budget does not call for layoffs to any large degree; however there will be a hiring freeze for non-safety personnel and many vacancies will be left unfilled. Core services will be maintained, but there will be a reduction of programs in Recreation as there is simply not enough money to fund all activities currently offered through the division.

A major and necessary assumption of the 2012 spending plan includes concessions in labor contracts as the city continues to negotiate with four of its collective bargaining units. If contract savings are not realized the budget will have to be amended to reflect the additional expenditures for personnel costs. With emphasis on the provision of city services and maintaining employment for municipal workers, the Mayor will continue to negotiate with the unions to achieve greater savings in personnel costs which constitute approximately 80% of the general fund expenditures.

“As elected leaders, we must work together to continue to provide our citizens with the service they expect within the constraints of our fiscal reality,” Bell noted in his cover memo to City Council.

The municipal court and the Clerk of Court budgets are at or below 2011 levels, however a 4% reduction in contractual changes for criminal justice services will have to be negotiated with Lucas County and the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio.

The Mayor did note that despite the difficult budget cycles of the past two years the city has continued to make progress in delivering public safety and core services. Since January 2010, 81 police officers and 98 firefighters have been hired; the city has replaced 105 police vehicles and obtained six new transport units for the fire department. The city has also begun construction on a new fire station #6 in east Toledo.

“We continue to face challenges,” he said, “but we also continue to maximize every dollar that comes into this city to improve every aspect of service possible for our citizens.”

The City of Toledo 2012 Operating Budget will be made available online later today at www.toledo.oh.gov.


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