Mayor Bell conveys final budget of term to City Council - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Mayor Bell conveys final budget of term to City Council

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

On Thursday, Toledo Mayor Mike Bell sent the final budget of his administration to Toledo City Council for consideration of the city's 2014 revenues and operating expenses. By city charter, a balanced budget proposal must be submitted by the mayor to City Council no later than Nov. 15 of each calendar year. 

The proposal, as submitted to Council, includes $165.2 million in income tax revenue, a modest increase of approximately 2 percent over 2013 estimates, along with an increase in anticipated casino revenue of approximately $600,000. The budget also anticipates reduced revenue from the photo traffic enforcement system of nearly $1 million. General fund revenues in 2014 are additionally impacted by the elimination of the estate tax and ongoing phase out of local government revenue sharing from the state of Ohio. Approximately $14.1 million would be transferred from the capital improvement fund.

City expenditures are also restrained as Toledo continues to feel the pinch on the revenue side. A class of 30 police officers is recommended to begin in December 2014, however,the majority of other vacancies are recommended to be unfunded or delayed in the general fund and internal service funds. While no fire class is scheduled for 2014, the city is scheduled to administer a firefighter civil service exam in May 2014, which is accounted for in the operating budget. Reductions are expected in both police and fire overtime costs, as new classes graduate from the two academies. Fire overtime is recommended for $1.7 million and police overtime is recommended for $2.2 million.

The spending proposal reduces internal supplies and service budgets to 2012 levels across all cost centers in the general fund and internal service funds. Approximately $900,000 has been proposed for the Toledo Expansion Initiative and the Downtown Expansion Initiative to cover current commitments. However, no further general fund expenditures have been allocated for new incentive packages in 2014. The municipal court clerk and judges budgets have been flat funded at 2013 levels and the proposal assumes no changes in the city's contract with the county for the Lucas County jail.

"The past four years have proved to be an economic challenge for Toledo and the nation, however, I am proud that we have controlled our spending and managed to get a better grasp on our budget and financial planning for the city," said Bell. "I'm pleased to be able to hand over a budget proposal that includes realistic revenue and expenditure recommendations for consideration by the incoming administration and City Council."

The proposed 2014 total revenue is budgeted at $657.8 million with $653.5 million in expenditures. General fund revenues are budgeted at $244.78 million and proposed general fund expenditures total $244.76 million, leaving an anticipated fund balance of approximately $20,000 at the conclusion of the 2014 fiscal year.

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