Tipp City considers budget cuts for 2022

TIPP CITY — The Tipp City Council will look at possible budget reductions on the road to approving a 2022 city budget.

The main discussion item for council is a projected $500,000 general fund deficit. City administrators said that amount could be covered by reserves the city has built over the past several years.

Several council members, though, said they want to explore other options.

Although cuts were mentioned, Council President Katie Berbach reminded follow council members that more than 70 percent of general fund spending is for salaries and benefits. One personnel position that may remain vacant is the city human resources specialist, which was vacated this summer by the retirement of Joanna Pittenger. Leaving that office dark would save around $100,000 when all costs are totaled, said John Green, city finance director.

“Reducing staff by attrition isn’t going to be enough,” Green told council recently.

The 2022 budget was the focus of an October council work session followed by a discussion on specific items before council’s Nov. 15 meeting. The total proposed budget is $55.62 million, of which $8.08 million is in the general fund.

A mostly new council will be on the dais in January with the year-end departures of five of council’s seven members.

Council also is discussing two tax issues. One likely would come before voters in 2022, the other in 2023.

The first would be a vote by residents on whether to move a portion of city income tax receipts to the general fund, rather than the capital improvement fund, where that money currently goes. The total city income tax is 1.5%, and the vote would be about the first two-tenths of a percent.

It previously was discussed that council could vote on moving those 0.2 percent income tax proceeds. However, Green found information from an earlier income tax campaign stating that any change in how that money is used would require a vote by taxpayers, City Manager Tim Eggleston said.

That vote could come as early as May, with collection beginning mid-year, if approved.

“If that avoids staff cuts, we should look at it,” said Councilman Frank Scenna of proposing the tax reallocation. The 0.2 percent could bring an added $1 million to the general fund.

The second tax issue would be a fire/emergency medical services levy. That would help pay the city’s increasing cost of expanding its emergency services department from a traditional volunteer/paid part time setup, to a combination of full time, part-time and volunteers.

Residents in Monroe Twp. in November approved a funding plan to pay the township share of those increased costs. The township contracts with the city for fire and EMS protection.

The possible city fire/EMS levy will be before the new council for discussion, probably at its February strategic planning session, Eggleston said.

Berbach said council could approve the budget in December, when it has two meetings, or possibly leave it for the new council to finalize in January. Council’s next meeting is Monday, Dec. 6.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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