Lima Council hears midyear budget review

By Craig Kelly - [email protected]

LIMA — The city of Lima’s finances remain on track, but the city will have a reduction in its cash balance.

That was part of Lima Finance Director Steve Cleaves’ budget update report to Lima City Council on Monday. Taking a look at the first half of the year, Cleaves told council members that, on the whole, revenue and expenses are in line with projections made at the beginning of the year.

“This is a familiar story with charts you’ve seen before,” he said. “Usually the city underruns its general fund budget by between 4 and 8 percent, and that usually shows up about midyear. Our revenues are generally at par or possibly a percent or two above, and that’s the case this year.”

During his presentation, Cleaves pointed out that the city’s general fund received $15.8 million in revenue during the first half of the year, representing 51 percent of the projected $30.8 million revenue. The city had also spent $17.2 million during the first half of the year, which is 48 percent of the $37.3 million projected expenditures. The city had spent $2.1 million in major appropriations through June 30, with the largest line item being $786,000 for a Fire Department vehicle.

The largest portion of the city’s budget, however, is labor costs, according to Cleaves, which takes up 78 percent of the budget. That portion is set to continue to increase as the city’s total manpower grows with new additions to safety services. The total workforce in the city is set to rise from a low of 364 in 2012 t0 419 this year.

“We’ve hired all these people and have them on board in our safety services area,” he said. “We have to keep them, and that’s the challenge going forward.”

The best way to meet this challenge, Cleaves said, is to work to fill the job vacancies in the city and attract new businesses to increase income tax revenue.

“This is what we rely on going forward, the strength in our economy,” he said. “There are a lot of unfilled jobs out there, and there’s a lot of activity going on in the manufacturing area, and that needs to continue in the coming years. We’re relying on that.”

By Craig Kelly

[email protected]

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.

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