Kettering approves $68 million 2020 budget, reviews 2019

Kettering City Council voted to approve a projected $68 million 2020 annual budget last week as city officials reviewed highlights from 2019 that involved new development and services available to residents.

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Assistant City Manager Steve Bergstresser addressed highlights of the budget.

“The major areas of focus for the 2020 annual budget were capital improvements, income tax revenues, operating and personnel,” Bergstresser said. “Council continues to reinforce that the budget process should reflect the desires of the citizens and businesses of this community.”

Capital improvement expenditures include those related to the acquisition, expansion or rehabilitation of Kettering’s physical plant and infrastructure.

The capital improvement process is a hybrid of the budgeting and the planning process. Capital improvement requests are submitted by individual departments and coordinated by the city manager.

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The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) proposed for 2020 is $24.6 million.

“The line item reflects council’s strong commitment to rebuilding and maintaining the community’s neighborhoods, infrastructure, roadway, fire and police stations, as well as recreational facilities,” Bergstresser said.

The 2020 CIP includes a variety of projects ranging from roadway improvements, a new neighborhood park (Gentile Park), and Rosewood Arts Centre updates, to the usual resurfacing and curb replacement programs.

A major project for 2020 will be the Kettering Police station improvement. The project was developed to update the facility’s HVAC systems and reconfigure the overall layout and office spaces to meet today’s operational needs.

The renovated facility will incorporate enhanced security, current technology, improved locker rooms, and additional property storage. The existing shooting range and jail will remain in their current configurations.

The design phase of the project began in the second half of 2018, with construction scheduled to begin in early 2020. The city will fund the project through the issuance of general obligation debt.

Year 2020 revenues for all funds are projected to be 4.7% more than estimated 2019 revenues, largely due to an increase in anticipated income tax receipts, federal grants expected for 2020 roadway and community development projects, increased state gasoline tax and increased sales from a larger Fraze season.

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Income tax, the city’s greatest revenue source, is projected to be 2.1% more than 2019.

“Income taxes represent 79% of total General Fund revenues,” said Bergstresser. “Our income tax base is growing, a sure sign that our residents and those working in our community are earning more. Kettering’s well educated and highly skilled workforce is attractive to businesses looking to locate or expand in our community. We are confident that more economic development success for Kettering is just around the corner.”

Police and fire account for nearly 50% of general fund expenditures. Two police officer positions will be added to the department’s authorized strength during 2020, as well.

Kettering remains in a healthy financial position with an available ending reserve balance, for all funds, projected at $36.2 million for 2020.

“Revenue and expenditure estimates for 2020 represent conservative projections consistent with our past budgeting practices,” Bergstresser said. “For the past several years, the city’s departments have been challenged to budget with a zero percent operating increase from the previous year’s budget amount.”

He noted that the challenge demands that department directors carefully evaluate their services, programs and fee structure.

“To date, we have managed to respond to this target,” Bergstresser said.

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Mayor Don Patterson and council reflected on how in 2019, Kettering focused on redevelopment and reinvestment. Noteworthy projects included additions and improvements to Miami Valley Research Park.

Tenneco made significant improvements and major equipment purchases at its facility on Woodman Drive during 2019. The company has increased employment from 475 people at the end of 2016 to 624 people through the middle of 2019.

“We anticipate their employment numbers will continue to rise through 2020,” Patterson said.

Growth and expansion continue at the Kettering Business Park (KBP). KBP, formerly Gentile Air Force Station, was created in 1996 to offset the loss of more than 2,500 jobs at the former base.

Today, the business park employs more than 3,000 people at Synchrony, PriMed Physicians, Alternate Solutions Health Network, N12 Technologies and Kettering Municipal Court.

In 2017, the city and representatives from KBP businesses worked together to design a new signature entrance for the business park on Wilmington Pike.

Those improvements to the landscaping and entrance signage for the Business Park’s main entrance were completed in 2019.

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Alternate Solutions Health Network is expecting growth in employment with the projection of 340 jobs by 2021.

Kettering Health Network’s state-of the art command center in the Kettering Business Park opened in 2019, allowing the facility to handle all scheduling and patient management for the entire health network.

In 2019, Kettering sold 14 acres of land and a largely under-used 200,000 square foot warehouse (Building #2) in KBP to a developer. Building #2 was demolished to bring an Amazon “last mile” package distribution center.

The site now holds a 100,000 square foot distribution center and associated delivery vehicle parking areas. The Amazon facility began processing and delivering packages in July 2019, and it is nearly fully staffed and operational. About 400 part-time Amazon employees are working in the facility, with six companies providing drivers for the operation.

“We are thrilled with the private redevelopment and renovation projects taking place throughout our community,” Bergstresser said. “Kettering has grown significantly over the past 60 years, and the city strategically devotes a great deal of resources to maintain infrastructure and promote both residential and commercial development and redevelopment.”

Bergstresser added, "Our residents are encouraged to take a look at our budget posted on our website. We pride ourselves in offering our residents fiscal responsibility and transparency."

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