Chillicothe City Council members continued budget work Monday evening and unanimously supported a plan that would reinstate pay raises for city employees.
Chillicothe City Council members continued budget work Monday evening and unanimously supported a plan that would reinstate pay raises for city employees. Raises looked doubtful when the preliminary budget draft was presented to council members during a budget workshop a week ago; however, a reallocation of general sales tax revenue will allow for the raises. In the 2016-17 budget year, 65 percent of the city’s general sales tax was set aside for the general fund and 35 percent was set aside for the street fund. What the city has now proposed is 70 percent going to the city’s general fund and 30 percent going to the city’s street fund. By doing this, the projected sales tax revenues for the general fund will increase from $1,155,000 to $1,244,000 and free up funds to give city employees a 2 percent pay raise. The reduced revenue for the street fund will be more than covered through the use tax, which is anticipated to generate $306,000 during the 2017-18 fiscal year. The reallocation of general sales tax revenues balances the general operating fund, according to City Administrator Ike Holland. Also on the chopping block last week was approximately $100,000 in equipment: body cameras for the police department, a patrol car for the police department, weapons replacement for the police department, picnic tables and benches for the parks, ball park improvements, playground improvements and $12,000 set aside for the demolition of dilapidated houses. After the new figures were presented on Monday, these items, also were put back into the budget. Funds will come from money generated through the sale of property – largely a tract of land sold to Skillpath and the sale of the Wabash railroad depot, and vehicles that were traded in last year. The city had a lease purchase agreement for the Wabash railroad depot with Wabash BBQ that came due last year, at which time Wabash BBQ exercised the option to purchase the building. Funds from the sale of property had not been appropriated in the preliminary budget draft. Now, these funds are going to be set aside for the purchase of equipment. The only item now on the list of cuts from last week is that of a truck for the street department. The city’s 2017-18 fiscal year begins April 1. A public hearing on the budget will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 27, in the Council Chambers at City Hall.