Gayle Spangler

Gayle Spangler

CIRCLEVILLE — The beginnings of the 2020 city budget are taking shape, with new ideas to better budget money and help reduce spending already in place.

In the first official step to approving the budget, City Council’s finance committee sent along the initial ordinance to the full council for three readings. This ordinance will get scrutinized in the fall once projections become more clear.

“This is our normal budgetary process,” said Council Member Barry Keller, who also leads the finance committee. “We do this first ordinance to accommodate the county budgetary commission. We’ll have another budgetary process in the fall.”

Gayle Spangler, city auditor, explained some of the differences in the process and the 2020 budget, which will come in at roughly $21.3 million.

The 2019 budget before cuts was roughly $23.3 million and trimmed by $2.9 million this spring.

Spangler said they’re restricting departments’ requests for 2020 in regards to the three main funds: the general fund 101, safety fund 212 and capital improvement fund 306.

“The restrictions are limited to just those funds,” she said. “They were required to give our legal requirements for 12 months so we put all of those in. We looked at their discretionary spending and they’re only going to get half of their spending for the first half. Any money that is leftover will go into the non-appropriated money and then we’ll appropriate another six months.”

Spangler said the county operates its budget the same way and added that funding for personnel also was included based on 2019 levels.

“It gives you the ability in June to say if they spent all their money and revenue is not coming in, you can say you’re not getting the other 50 percent, you’re getting the other 30 percent. It gives you the ability to control the discretionary spending.”

“I think it’s a good idea myself,” Todd Brady, committee member said of the change.

Spangler said the budget is down in the general fund for the first year and in the black for what she said “is a long, long time.”

“You have to keep in mind in general fund and the safety fund it only includes half of the discretionary spending and it doesn’t include any capital spending,” she said. “It does include all personnel for 12 months.”

Keller said he had a meeting with the city administration, who was working to have a larger carryover balance into 2020 than in recent years.

Spangler said the city previously carried over about $1.3 million but in recent years, such as 2018 going into 2019, it was about $389,000.

“We haven’t seen normal in 12 years, so I’m thinking larger than last year would be nice,” she said.

Also during the meeting, an ordinance was sent to the full City Council to pay for the acquisition of property next to Barthelmas Park.

“This is the final piece, which is the borrowing of the money to proceed with the purchase and close with the owners,” Keller said.

Spangler said they put out a request for proposals to the local banks and the winner was the Savings Bank at 2.25 percent interest on the five-year bond.

“Of the payment, $45,000 of the payment will be from the grant dollars,” she said. “The remainder of the payments will come out of fund 206, which has already been approved by ordinance. I’m really pleased with the rate.”

Spangler said she would ask the ordinance be passed in June and have the closing by June 18 or June 20 to meet the timeline of the sale.

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