Oakwood approves $18.6 million 2020 budget

Oakwood city officials voted to approve an $18.6 million budget for the city’s general fund in 2020. Council also reviewed highlights from 2019 that involved business development in the city and services available to residents in the community.

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Vice-Mayor Steve Byington said that the approved legislation is an annual budget ordinance required according to rules specified in the city’s charter.

He added that the budget is broken down into five categories: General City Services ($13,407,933), Refuse Program ($1,655,376), Water Utility, ($1,171,688), Sanitary Sewer Utility, ($1,866,190) and Stormwater Utility, ($530,044).

The total projected budget for the general fund in 2020 is $18,631,231, according to City Manager Norbert Klopsch, who addressed highlights in the approved budget.

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“The Refuse, Water, Sanitary Sewer and Stormwater services are entirely funded by user fees,” he explained. “We have no proposed fee increases in 2020 for Water, Sanitary Sewer or Refuse, but do have a $3 per month increase in the stormwater fee.”

It has been a couple of years since the stormwater fee has been raised and the increase next year will help offset infrastructure expenses, he said.

“It will be raised from $7 a month to $10 a month per residential unit,” Klopsch said. “The stormwater fee was last raised in January 2017. The fee increase is needed to address stormwater infrastructure expenses.”

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City services is the largest part of the 2020 budget, and Klopsch said the line item is largely funded by taxes.

“The General City Services are primarily funded by taxes. We have no tax increases (income or property) planned for 2020, and do not expect that we will need to discuss any possible tax increases over the next few years,” he said.

What is good news regarding the budget for residents is a projected surplus of about $234,000, he said.

“The 2020 budget for General City Services is about $500,000 less than 2019, but in 2019 we paid off the Police Pension Fund debt in the amount of $422,000,” Klopsch said.

He said, “This was a one-time expense. Not considering that expense, our 2020 budget is about $78,000 less than 2019.”

The city has $2,233,100 budgeted in 2020 for capital improvements and capital equipment, compared to $2,021,100 in 2019.

The largest expenses are: $575,000 for street and sidewalk repairs; $330,000 for a new (replacement) sewer truck; $300,000 for a new (replacement) refuse packer truck; and $145,000 to rebuild the deck at Gardner Pool, Oakwood’s public swimming pool at the Oakwood Community Center.

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Oakwood’s 35-member Citizen Budget Review Committee told council at its last meeting that the board endorsed the 2020 budget, noting that it was pleased with the transparency of the process involved with passing the budget.

Klopsch and Mayor Bill Duncan also highlighted some of the city’s 2019 accomplishments over the year.

Element Oakwood, the upscale condo-style apartment development is near completion. When done, the project will offer more than 80 units of one- and two-bedroom apartments at 310 Old River Trail Road off Ohio 48 in two four-story buildings.

The city completed several large projects as part of its 2019 Street Improvement Program. The 2019 asphalt street resurfacing project took place on the following streets: Spirea Drive, Greenmount Boulevard, Peach Orchard Avenue ( Far Hills Avenue to Shroyer Road). East Drive (Shafor Boulevard Avenue to Shroyer Road), Hathaway Road (Patterson Road to south corporation line), Hilltop Avenue, Fairmont Avenue and Hillview Avenue (Alpine Lane to south corporation line).

In 2019, Oakwood approved its first balanced budget in the five years since the estate tax was eliminated. The city began the year with a balance of $10 million.

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Oakwood’s $18.6 million 2020 budget is broken down as follows:

General City Services: $13,407,933

Refuse Program: $ 1,655,376

Water Utility: $ 1,171,688

Sanitary Sewer Utility: $ 1,866,190

Stormwater Utility: $ 530,044

Total budget: $18,631,231

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