The North Royalton City Council adopted the city’s 2020 budget at their March 3 meeting. Although Council has until March 31 to adopt the city’s budget, City Council has, in the past few years, adopted it before year’s end. This year, however, since there is a new Mayor and a new Council President and most City Council members, it was pushed into 2020, so all the new members could discuss and decide. “It’s the first time Council did it on this timetable,” said Council President Paul Marnecheck. The measure was unanimously adopted.
The 2020 budget has a total of just over $43,975,811, not much more than the $43 million budget of 2019, according to North Royalton Finance Director, Eric Dean. Some of the budgeted expenses for 2020 include a 2% wage increase for city employees and a 1% increase in its health care costs. There was $2.5 million for the road repair costs for 2020, which was about the same amount the city spent in road repairs in 2019. “We are trying to get a better pricing by going out to bid early,” said Dean. Last year, the budget included $470,000 for rock salt; $325,000 for a new ambulance, $100,000 for bay floors for Station 1; four new police cruisers totaling $126,700, $30,000 for a new server at City Hall, $76,100 for traffic light repairs and $50,000 for a new phone system in the Police Department.
The budget this year holds true to form in the conservative nature that previous administrations have operated. “Expenses are estimated a little higher and income a little lower,” noted Dean.
“Last year, we had a record collection of $17.4 million in collections, up about ten percent. This year, I’m forecasting $16.4 million, or about a six percent decrease from last. Since we had such a record year last year, I don’t want to predict another record year,” he said. Dean also noted that there were discussions regarding the overall economy and how it can affect not only this year’s budget, but next year’s budget as well. “The biggest factor is income tax that would affect us with a down turned economy,” said Dean. It’s my experience there’s usually a lag between the time the economy goes down to the decrease in income tax receipts.” For that reason, Dean said that if an economic downturn takes place in 2020, chances are the effects won’t be realized until the following year. The city does not have a “rainy day fund,” but it does have a Future Capital Fund, which is currently $987,000 according to Dean. Cable TV money goes in every year and fees for new developments, which, on average, equate to about $140,000.
The city started 2020 with a $19.76 million carryover, which was higher than the 2019 carryover of $15.3 million. “We are starting in a pretty good place, relative to the previous years,” said Dean.
Mayor Larry Antoskiewicz thanked Council on their work on the budget. “There’s a lot involved, there’s a lot of moving pieces. I appreciate all of Council’s work.”
Contributing Writer