August is already here and I thought this would be a good time to give a mid-year report of City of Sylvania finances and operations.
Income tax receipts continue to increase steadily, up 4.7% or about $250,000 through July of this year. That is good news, but unfortunately does not nearly offset the loss of other income the city is now planning for.
The State of Ohio has ended its long standing program of providing local government funds, costing Sylvania $250,000 annually. Next year, Ohio will stop collecting a state inheritance tax, costing Sylvania another $500,000 annually. The Lucas County Auditor has reduced property values with an anticipated loss of income of $204,000 for the City of Sylvania in 2013.
Combine that with the loss of investment income on city reserves due to lower interest rates and the City is facing an annual income loss well over $1,000,000.
Expense reductions and the spending of reserve funds will be necessary to offset the expected lower income for upcoming years. Sylvania City Council has been meeting regularly to review department budgets and look for cost savings.
The City has been and will continue to reduce expenses whenever and wherever practical without reducing city services to residents. Overtime has been reduced. Vacant positions are being left unfilled. The purchase of new police patrol cars has been delayed. Construction projects are being reduced or delayed.
Some infrastructure construction is continuing as grant funding is available. We are currently advertising for Safe Routes to School Improvements which are 100% funded by an ODOT grant. The new elevated water tank foundations are installed and the column construction is beginning, funded in part by a Ohio Public Works Commission grant.
We are planning for next year's replacement of the culvert under Erie Street east of Little Road and rebuilding Monroe Street between Erie and Silica Drive with 49% of the costs also covered by the Ohio Public Works Commission.
Economic Development efforts are continuing to bring new jobs to our community. Growth continues at Lourdes University and Flower Hospital. Interest is building in some of the vacant office and commercial space both downtown and around the community. Planning for the vacant land east of the downtown hotel along the north side of Ten Mile Creek continues.
The City of Sylvania remains a great place to be, with a high quality of life still attracting new residents to our community.
As summer rolls along, give thought to what improvements or changes you would like to see in Sylvania and contact me or one of our City Council members with your ideas.
We welcome your help in making Sylvania a better place for all of us to live, work and raise a family.