During its final meeting of 2017, Delaware City Council signed off on the 2018 budget with total appropriations for all funds topping out just shy of $115 million.
Funds with appropriations totaling $5 million or more include the General Fund ($22.3 million), Fire/EMS Operations Fund ($12 million), Glenn Road South Construction Fund ($10.8 million), Sewer Fund ($7 million), Water Fund ($6.4 million), Self Insurance Fund ($5.8 million), and Refuse Fund ($5.3 million).
As for the city’s General Fund, which is expected to have a balance of $4,015,882 as of Jan. 1, 2018, revenues in 2018 are projected to be $22,127,387 with the largest sources being income tax ($14.8 million) and property tax ($1.5 million).
General Fund expenses next year are estimated to be slightly lower than revenues at $22,102,223. The largest projected expenditures are policing ($8.7 million) and general administration ($3.4 million).
If the projected budget holds true in 2018, the General Fund would close 2018 with a balance of $4,041,045.
Prior to council unanimously approving the 2018 budget, council member George Hellinger voiced his concern over the $5,000 being allocated to the Sister City Promotion line item under the Community Promotion Fund.
Hellinger said he couldn’t “support” the allocated amount and asked that it be “stricken” from the budget.
Several other council members backed Hellinger with council member Chris Jones questioning whether residents would be in favor of seeing their tax dollars go toward such a cause.
Hellinger suggested instead of using the money toward sister cities (Delaware has sister city agreements with Baumholder, Germany, and Sakata, Japan), it should be put toward more community-related matters like helping with downtown electrical infrastructure that would benefit organizers of special events like the Delaware Arts Festival.
City Manager R. Thomas Homan said the $5,000 allocated toward sister cities would cover “any costs that might be incurred in 2018 with regard to Baumholder.”
He added the German city is opening a museum next year and plans to invite city officials to attend, but nothing has been finalized.
Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle and Vice Mayor Kent Shafer expressed their desires to keep moving the sister city relationships forward.
“If we are going to have sister cities…I think it’s important to keep money in there,” Riggle said. “Sister city has been around for four or five years now, and it just seems like we are finally getting off the ground and trying to do things. If we need some money to do something to promote it, I would just like there to be something to use.”
Shafer added, “I don’t want to see us abandon our sister city program by not putting in funds.”
Instead, he suggested council move to split the $5,000 in question between the Sister City Promotion line item and Special Events line item for use on downtown infrastructure like electrical upgrades.
“If we need a supplemental someplace as we move along, we can always do that,” Shafer said.
By a 5-2 vote (Riggle and council member Lisa Keller voted no), council elected to divide the $5,000 between the two items with the Community Promotion Fund.