On May 5, the North Royalton City Council held a special Finance Committee meeting to discuss budget adjustments with Mayor Larry Antoskiewicz. These adjustments were necessary due to the financial impact from COVID-19. On the same day, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced changes to the state budget to the tune of over $750,000,000.
“We have been working on this for a few weeks, trying to get figures and estimates,” said Antoskiewicz. He said he also has had discussions with local, state and federal representatives. They are telling us that we are going to get some money, but it would only cover expenses due to the virus, but not to money we lost because of the virus. A report issued to City Council states that due to a majority of businesses shutting down, city administrators expect decreases in revenue from city income tax and court fines and costs.
The Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) has estimated a reduction of income tax receipts of about 8 ½%, based on 2019 collections. The city collected $17.28 million in 2019 and the decrease anticipated at this time will be $1.46 million, with the revised budget of $15,825,157. Court fines and costs are expected to drop by half in 2020, from $300,000 to $150,000. The total estimated decrease of revenue equals $1,612,082. “I’m going deeper than that,” said Antoskiewicz, “as the income from the gas tax will be down as well, because people are not going to work, consumption is down.” The city is also monitoring other revenue streams, such as building permits and Local Government Tax receipts.
“We are looking to cut about $1.6 million off the budget to start, which equates to about 15%,” said Antoskiewicz. “I’ve asked department heads for a 10% cut, but not include personnel,” said Antoskiewicz. “Basically, operational items.” In order to adjust the city’s budget, he proposed the following cuts: Scale back the city’s 2020 Road Program, $1,000,000; reduce operating budgets for discretionary funding by 10%, $301,822; institute a hiring freeze for unfilled positions, $254,500; take advantage of deferred payments on Ohio Public Work Loans, $110,000. The total budget cuts proposed at this time is $1,666,322.
Antoskiewicz said that the city will “take a million off the road program, but I’m still going to be doing some roads.” The city will be starting with three of the seven streets that were originally targeted for this year. Road work will start with N. Akins Road, Bennett Road and Swan Lake. “If the numbers still look good, he may then add more roads to the list. That should take a couple months to do and at that point, they will be able to see what the situation permits. I want to monitor it and do it slowly,” said Antoskiewicz. “The pricing is good for the entire year, so we can wait and see if we can do more.” He said he wanted to do all the asphalt projects, to take advantage of the good pricing.
There will be a partial freeze on hiring. “We were going to hire an IT person this year. We won’t be doing that at this time. Most of the summer help will not be needed. One exception is that the city is still looking for a building inspector, as there is only one full-time inspector. It is one position that we need,” said Antoskiewicz.
Ward 3 Councilman asked Finance Director, Eric Dean, to provide Council with monthly unemployment numbers, which can help gauge what the impact may be on the city’s finances. A resident asked if the Mayor would give up part of his salary. Langshaw indicated that he would be willing to give up part of his salary if things got worse. The positions of Mayor and City Council have not taken a cut in their salary since 2010, when employees were furloughed, due to the economy.
“We’re resilient,” noted Council President Paul Marnecheck. He said that he felt the proposed cuts had the least impact on residents as possible. Although some of the Road Program may be changed, there will still be road work done this year. “We got good prices on concrete and asphalt and are still able to do some of the roads.”
Antoskiewicz said that an appropriation amendment would be needed and is expected for the next council meeting to get the new budget changes approved. He noted that “I don’t know what the future brings for the rest of the year. I may still need to watch and cut more.”

Contributing Writer