Tough outlook for Delaware’s capital improvement budget


The City of Delaware’s proposed five-year capital improvement plan will be out of balance from 2019 to 2022 as local officials grapple with a funding gap for The Point project.

City Manager R. Thomas Homan has proposed an annual $350,000 contribution toward the city’s local match for the project. The city is expected to receive $17.6 million in state and federal funding for The Point at the intersection of State Route 37 and U.S. 36.

But the city will need $6.2 million as its 20-percent match by 2022.

“The transportation levy could have provided funds for the local contribution; instead, the CIP reflects $350,000 annually that will go towards the City’s match,” Homan said in a memo to Delaware City Council.

More than 60 percent of Delaware voters rejected an income tax levy that would have raised the income tax from 1.85 percent to 2 percent. The 0.15-increase would have generated $2.2 million annually for resurfacing roads and improving the transportation network.

“The City has formally requested the county’s financial participation, as this project has regional significance,” Homan said.

In addition, Homan said revenue from a Joint Economic Development District at Tanger Outlets Columbus will continue to be pledged for the project.

The 2018-2022 CIP is an annual budget that lists all of the capital projects planned for the next five years. The budget is funded by a contribution from the city’s general fund along with fees and state and federal grants. Council must adopt the CIP by Oct. 15.

Council will discuss the CIP on Aug. 28, Sept. 11 and Oct. 9.

Under the proposed CIP, the city’s contribution from the general fund to the budget would increase by an average 13.14 percent — or about $229,963.75 — per year from 2018 to 2021 compared with the last approved CIP’s annual flat figure of $1.75 million. The city would contribute $2,233,493 from the general fund in 2022.

But the proposed CIP’s ending fund balance would decrease by an average 10.65 percent — or about $439,442 — per year during the same time period. The 2018 ending fund balance would be $617,262, while the ending fund balance for 2022 would have a deficit of $861,045.

“Until a new revenue source is identified, tough choices will need to be made, on which projects won’t be addressed for 2019-2023,” Homan said.

The proposed CIP compared with last year’s budget would decrease the share of general fund dollars for two expenditure items from 2018 to 2021. But the share for three other expenditures would increase, while another expenditure does not change during the same time period.

The changes to the allocation of general fund dollars from 2018 to 2021 are as follows:

• Airport improvements’ share would decrease by an average 74.92 percent — or about $92,470 — per year. It would receive no funding in 2022.

• Building improvements’ share would decrease by an average 7.56 percent — or about $25,400 — per year. It would receive $355,900 in 2022.

• Technology improvements’ general fund share would increase by an average 132.1 percent — or about $139,029 — per year. It would receive $318,600 in 2022. Improvements include updating the Delaware Police Department’s record management system with implementation to begin in 2018. About $100,000 is allocated annually for the project for all five years.

• Street improvements’ share would increase by an average 119.1 percent — or about $382,268 — per year. It would receive $616,310 in 2022. Additionally, the plan reflects $150,000 annually allocated for local street resurfacing for all five years, far short of what the annual investment should be, Homan said.

“Had the city’s November 2016 transportation levy passed, approximately $800,000 annually would have been available for local street resurfacing,” he said.

• Park improvements’ general fund share would increase by an average 101.34 percent — or about $38,625 — per year. It would receive no dollars in 2022.

• The general fund share for replacing equipment would increase by 7.45 percent — or about $42,500 — per year. It would receive $715,000 in 2022.

• Sidewalk maintenance would remain the same with an annual contribution of $125,000 for all five years.

The CIP can be found at www.delawareohio.net/city-budget.

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By Brandon Klein

bklein@delgazette.com

Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.

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