Fairborn passes 2022 budget, asks for ideas on spending feds’ $6.8 million

City manager says Fairborn is “in really good shape” financially for the next five years

The city of Fairborn is getting about $6.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act money and is asking residents how they want to see the money used.

City spokeswoman Meghan Howard said about 614 responses from the community had been received as of Monday. The money must be used by 2024.

“Nothing has been finalized as to what projects we will use the ARPA money for,” Howard said.

Residents can give the city their opinion via a survey available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9TLYQMY. It closes Jan. 1.

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So far, City Manager Rob Anderson said Fairborn plans to use $15,000 in ARPA money to reimburse its general fund for a planned library mural.

The city has, however, passed its 2022 budget, including money for revitalizing downtown Fairborn, hiring two city dispatchers and a new K-9 officer. By law, cities must keep a balanced budget.

Anderson said Fairborn is now in a better position financially than it was a year or so ago, mostly due to a levy that passed in November 2020, which the city began collecting this year.

“I can’t speak to the next 10 years, but I will tell you in the next five years we are in really good shape,” Anderson said.

He said the city’s income tax is slowly growing as the city continues to focus on economic development and bringing in more jobs.

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Part of the city’s budget is investing in the downtown area, including upgrading some of the facades and promoting downtown events, like Bluegrass and Brews, an annual bluegrass festival held in Fairborn.

Anderson said the greatest growth in the city’s budget has been in personnel costs, which he noted is the greatest cost to most cities in the region. Operating costs have gone up 7.7% in the last year, primarily due to personnel costs, Anderson said.

The city also plans to spend some additional money in the police department next year.

Anderson said the officer who handles the current K-9 officer is retiring, and when an officer retires, his dog retires with him. The K-9 dog and training is expected to cost around $24,000, Anderson said.

Anderson said more city dispatchers are also needed. He said dispatchers currently don’t know if they will have to work double shifts or be able to go home at the end of their shifts.

“We’ve seen a lot of overtime in all of our police and fire, but in particular in dispatch,” Anderson said.

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