The city of Delaware’s proposed 2016 operating budget is not only balanced, but may address some of the findings from its 2015 “Community Attitudes Survey.”
“Revenue growth in 2016 is projected to be enough to support modest increases in certain areas,” wrote City Manager Tom Homan in a letter to City Council on Nov. 13. “This allows us to enhance some of the basic services our residents have come to expect, as well as assist in establishing priorities for projects and funding.”
Based on the survey, Homan said the budget includes: adding a full-time police officer; increasing funding to demolish blighted properties; hiring a parks and natural resources Director; hiring a part-time human resources coordinator; and promoting Delaware as a place to live, work and do business.
“This budget provides the highest level of service to the community within existing financial resources, and in a few areas, enhances current service levels,” Homan wrote.
The budget estimates revenues of $19,478,000 for 2016; and the expenditures are estimated to be $19,456,219. The revenue is projected to be 5.9 percent over the 2015 budget; the expenditures expected to increase 5.8 from 2015. The fund balance, or rainy day fund, is estimated to be $3,319,254, which meets council’s target of 17 percent.
“We continue a conservative budgeting approach to help ensure long-term financial sustainability,” Homan wrote.
The budget provides insight into some of the initiatives the city will pursue in 2016. Those initiatives include: Web marketing campaigns for the economic development department; progress on the Entrepreneur Center; beginning work on updating the city’s comprehensive plan, with completion expected in 2020; increasing the city’s water rates; a downtown parking assessment study; and a .15-percent income tax increase to fund street and road work.
“City investment is required to advance these project initiative and likely only possible through an increase in available revenue dedicated toward highway improvements,” Homan wrote of the
Council is required to approve a budget for the city by year’s end. The first reading and first public hearing will be at the council meeting on Nov. 23; with a second reading and public hearing on Dec. 14, with adoption slated for Dec. 21. The council meetings begin at 7 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall.
There will also be budget sessions on Dec. 1, Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 16 to review the sections in more detail.
“Review and adoption of the annual budget is one of City Council’s most important responsibilities as a legislative body,” Homan wrote.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.