Leaner budget awaits Kettering next year as COVID-19 job loss impact becomes clearer

The widening of County Line Road in Kettering is part of the city’s plan to spend $8.6 million on improving roads in 2021. STAFF
The widening of County Line Road in Kettering is part of the city’s plan to spend $8.6 million on improving roads in 2021. STAFF

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

KETTERING – The city is decreasing spending by about 10% next year as it projects less income tax money and is cutting jobs either by freezing them or through attrition, all impacts of COVID-19.

Kettering expenditures are about $90 million for 2021, down from about $100 million this year, city records show. It will operate with about 547 workers, about 15 fewer full-time and about 20 part-time ones impacting multiple departments.

About half of the full-time employees will not see pay increases as Kettering officials have already said only contractual workers will receive those hikes in what Mayor Don Patterson called “trying times.”

Pay raises, Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman said, “reflect the current years of union contracts” for the city’s six bargaining units.

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After the business shutdowns due to the coronavirus the city expects to see about $4.4 million less income tax revenue in 2021 compared to a year ago, according to the budget approved unanimously by Kettering City Council last week.

“Being reliant to a large degree on income tax revenues, the financial impact of the pandemic was uncertain,” the budget states. “The city took prudent measures at the onset of the health emergency to reduce or delay expenditures.”

Kettering’s capital improvement fund for next year is at $11.9 million, about $800,000 more than 2020′s estimated allotment that was scaled back due lost revenue. About $8.6 million will be spent on improving roads, records show.

Kettering expects to see about $4.4 million less income tax revenue in 2021 compared to projections of a year ago, according to the city.

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Next year Kettering is estimating $47.9 million in income tax collections, down from $52.3 million estimated in 2020′s budget, city records show.

Income taxes account for about 79% of Kettering general fund revenues, which for 2021 is at $60.7 million, down $2.67 million from this year, according to the city.

Records show those revenues increased 8.1% from 2018 to 2019, but this year’s collections now being estimated at $49.2 million, Schwieterman said.

The projected decline for 2021 “takes into consideration known situations that we are aware of in regards to reductions of employees and companies in the city….and also so across the board assumptions that we’re making for 2021,” Schwieterman told city council.

Documents cite the announced departure of two sizeable businesses.

Synchrony Financial (about 1,900 jobs) in Kettering Business Park and WilmerHale’s business services center (235 jobs) at Miami Valley Research Park have announced they are leaving the city.

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“News of these departures was cause for further budget cuts in preparation for 2021,” according to the budget. “Departments were tasked with decreasing 2021 budgets by five percent. It was determined that personnel costs would be decreased with a continued hiring freeze, with the exception of public safety and select positions, and through attrition.”

Yet even the police and fire departments show slightly smaller staffing levels for 2021, according to records. The budget calls for about five fewer jobs - including two patrol officers - in both departments combined.

Other departments with fewer jobs for next year include planning and development, finance, human resources, administration, law, and the Kettering Municipal Clerk of Courts, according to the budget.

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KETTERING BUDGET

ITEM 2020 2021

Expenditures $99.9M $90.1M

General fund $63.4M $60.7M

Income tax revenue $49.2M $47.9M

Employees 582 547

SOURCE: City of Kettering