The findings of the Delaware Financial Review Task Force have been formally accepted by Delaware City Council after members voted to approve the task force’s final report during Monday’s meeting.
A presentation on the final report was made by the task force to council during its Jan. 23 meeting, nearly a year after the task force was created in December 2021. The task force was charged with a set of four goals that included reviewing the city’s current financial status and outlook, exploring collaborative service-delivery opportunities and cost containment measures, assessing existing city service levels, and assessing the status of capital investments.
Within those four goals, the group’s analysis focused on four specific areas that included fees for services, operational efficiencies, economic development, and income tax and credit rates. A total of 23 meetings were held by the task force beginning last March and finishing in January, and the task force was given unlimited access to the city’s finances as part of the process.
Ten city departments participated in the meetings, which included a review of current budgets and a look ahead at future needs for each department. The meetings also included a review of the Regionomics report that was commissioned by the city, with the findings presented to the city in December by Regionomics owner Dr. Bill LaFayette.
While the final report offered recommendations including implementing a standardized review schedule for service fees and permits, exploring the outsourcing of maintenance for Oak Grove Cemetery while continuing to implement high-cost recovery options for patrons, and continuing to seek grant opportunities when available, among others, the task force’s primary recommendation in the report was an increase to the city’s income tax rate while keeping the current credit for those working outside the city to 0.50%.
The task force suggested increasing the current income tax rate of 1.85% by 0.40%, which would make the new rate 2.25%. According to the task force’s findings, the tax increase would generate an additional $6.3 million to address the coming budget shortfalls while also allowing for a sustainable capital improvement program.
Following the presentation in January, a 30-day window was observed by the city to allow for public comments to be submitted on the findings before council took action. Those comments are now included as an appendix to the report, which can be accessed by visiting www.delawareohio.net/government/departments/finnancial-review-task-force-report.
“The task force, I think, has done an outstanding job of reviewing the city’s overall financial condition very thoroughly and making a number of recommendations which are currently being considered by the Finance Committee,” City Manager Tom Homan said during Monday’s meeting.
Previous meetings of the Finance Committee were held Feb. 15, March 2, March 14, and March 20 to review the report. The committee is scheduled to meet again to consider the recommendations of the report on April 27.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.