LIMA — Lima's financial health is much better heading into 2013, City Council Finance Committee Chairman Tom Tebben said Monday.
Council passed its $27.7 million general fund budget Monday after a series of Finance Committee meetings in January.
“The budget’s in much better shape going into 2013,” Tebben said. “In 2012, we had some one-time good news money, and we controlled spending.”
In 2012, the city received $2.3 million more in revenue than budgeted, because of the sale of the former Lima Locomotive Works and higher than expected income tax revenue, Tebben said. Also, expenses were $1.3 million less than budgeted. So, even though the city absorbed losses of $2.7 million, its budget remains stable. The city lost $850,000 in local government funding from the state, $900,000 in investment income, $750,000 in estate tax revenue and $200,000 in real estate tax revenue, Tebben said.
Lima is also working hard to control health care costs, which account for between $5 million and $6 million of the general fund spending. The city is self-insured.
For the first time in years, Lima plans to do some capital spending. This year, $2.7 million is set aside in the budget. Halfway through the year, the city plans to review the budget and capital needs. In previous lean years, the city budgeted only $100,000, and even zero, for capital needs.
Two projects discussed during the budget process still are under consideration.
Third Ward Councilor Jesse Lowe II’s proposal to have an employee or security presence at the front reception area of the Municipal Building has gone to the administration. The Finance Committee wants to see multiple scenarios and their costs, Tebben said. The Police Department and Public Works Department will develop a menu of choices for council to consider.
Also, the concept of setting aside money for downtown improvement will go to the Public Works Committee. Lima budgeted $30,000 for the effort this year, and Tebben said he expects to see some kind of public-private partnership development with Downtown Lima Inc and downtown business owners.
The city also will spend $10,000 on a consultant to look at options and future plans for Schoonover Pool.
Lima in good fiscal health