The City of Sylvania's 2014 budget shows a surplus, something that hasn't occurred for a few years and comes despite a drop in state funding.
Next year's budget, approved by City Council, has a $228,000 surplus. The $11.4 million operating budget, down about $500,000 from two years ago, reflects decreases in staff and capital improvement expenses. The surplus is to be helped in part by higher income tax collections.
Toby Schroyer, city director of finance, said state funding has declined 42 percent since 2011. Sylvania will receive $450,000 in state funding next year, about $320,000 less than in 2011.
“We are now back in a black rather than a red situation” for the first time in years, Mayor Craig Stough said at a recent council meeting. The surplus will be deposited in the city's capital improvement fund.
The general fund had a 1.6 percent, or about $200,000, drop in spending because of retirements of staff who were not replaced,
In 2013, the capital improvement budget was $8.2 million, of which $500,000 was earmarked for the Maplewood Marketplace project, which consisted of refurbishing the building where Interrupt Marketing is housed and of building a parking lot on Maplewood Avenue. Also included this year was $340,000 for the Erie Street bridge replacement project and $347,000 for improvements to Monroe Street.
With those projects completed, the 2014 capital improvement budget shrunk to $6.5 million. Several projects on the budget include construction of a roundabout at Brint and King roads for about $894,000, a traffic signal improvement project at Brint and McCord Roads for $200,000, and installing sewer lines for homeowners on Arbor Way for $325,000. For the latter, the project costs will be assessed to homeowners once it is completed, said Joe Shaw, deputy director for the city’s service department.
Departments with the largest budgets are the Police Law Enforcement at $3.9 million and the Municipal Court at $1.6 million. With law director Jim Moan set to resign next month, the Legal Administration budget decreased next year by $175,000. The budget for the Mayor's Office increased by $83,000 to $343,000 to account for a new position, special counsel, to handle special projects, Mr. Schroyer said.
The community programs budget expanded to $338,000, about $100,000 more than last year. The funds will go towards increases in job creation grants the city provides to businesses, street level signs for businesses in the central business district, and repairs to Plummer pool.
In terms of revenue, the city has had a slight bump in income tax, expecting to collect $10.2 million next year, up from $9.6 million this year. The improvement is a reflection of a better job market for residents, Mr. Schroyer said. Income tax makes up 63 percent of the operating revenue at $7.2 million, followed by $1.1 million or 9 percent, from estate taxes, local government funds, and liquor permits, and $850,000, or 7 percent, from property taxes.