Lebanon to spend large portion of 2023 budget on road improvements

City council approves $122.2 million operating budget with expected revenues increase.

Lebanon residents will be seeing more investment in their streets and roads next year.

One of the highlights of the council-approved 2023 operating budget is a 90% increase in spending, or more than $10.5 million, on roadway resurfacing and reconstruction, according to City Manager Scott Brunka.

The new budget includes total revenues of nearly $107.8 million; and total expenditures of more than $122.2 million. Brunka said the total expenditures are significantly higher than revenues due to the fact that the budget supports using $14 million in electric fund cash reserves for substation and generation improvements in 2023.

Brunka said the 2023 budget is projecting a 6% increase in total revenues for the city over 2022, “which is a reflection of the strong business and job growth that the city is experiencing. This growth has allowed the city to make substantial new investments in our road improvement program and public safety operations in 2023. Spending on roadway resurfacing and reconstruction is increasing by 90% in 2023, and additional police and firefighter/EMS positions are being added in our public safety departments.”

He said there will be 2% cost of living raise and 1.5% performance wage increases are in the budget for employees. In addition, there will be a one-time, $250 payment to employees due to a below-inflationary 2022 wage.

Brunka previously said income-tax supported funds include in the general fund an allocated $19.2 million to cover general government, police, parks, planning, etc.; $11 million allocated for capital improvements such as the road program and facilities and $300,000 ($0.30 million) for debt service for the general obligation fund.

The city also has several restrictive funds as part of the overall 2023 operating budget that cannot be used for general government spending. Those funds include: $56 million for a utilities enterprise fund; $11.5 million in special revenue funds for fire and street levies; Tax Increment Financing and impact fees; $21.1 million in improvement funds for reserve and replacement; a $3.1 million internal service fund to cover self-insurance and auto maintenance costs and $3 million in trust and agency funds. In addition, the budget includes $6.94 million in grant funding.

Brunka said residents will see a 2% increase in water rates and sewer rates, sanitation increases will rise per ordinance, and no changes in electric or storm water utility rates.

Other programs and projects in the budget include: $290,000 for Pleasant Park playground replacement; $1.4 million from a state grant for the Parkside Park bike trail construction; $100,000 establish a public safety reserve and replacement fund for a new police station; $25,000 to establish façade improvement pilot program funding; $60,000 to replace gateway signage and $15.1 million for electric generation and Glosser Road substation.

City Council has also approved various inter-fund transfers for the 2023 budget as well redirecting 2% of income tax revenue to the Capital Improvement Programs to support the road improvement program. Council also approved supplemental appropriations for the 2022 budget.

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