TWINSBURG — The finance committee and Council are getting down to brass tacks in crafting the 2019 budget, as a temporary appropriations ordinance totaling $53 million was introduced at Council’s Nov. 13 meeting.

The appropriations measure includes $29.7 million in the general fund and $23.3 million in all other funds. Revenues of $51.33 million are expected. Capital improvement requests are listed at $1.49 million and infrastructure requests at $2.72 million.

Finance Director Sarah Buccigross said the finance committee was to discuss the budget Nov. 20. 

"That meeting will allow Council to get more details on any items they wish to review and discuss possible reductions in anticipated spending," she said.

Buccigross said the 2019 permanent budget must be in place by March 31, but the temporary budget will be on the agenda for final reading in December.

Council has scheduled a special work session for Nov. 27 at 5 p.m. to discuss restaurant and banquet center operations at the new Gleneagles clubhouse. That session will be prior to Council’s regular 7:30 p.m. meeting. The final two regular Council meetings for 2018 are Dec. 4 and 11.

Some of the major capital expenditures anticipated in 2019 are for a 600MHz radio system and cruiser leases for the police department, the first year lease of a new fire truck, Liberty Park ballfield construction and asphalt / concrete replacement at the community-senior center.

Also on the capital list are a new 1-ton dump truck, community center roof repairs, a greens roller for the golf course, two mowers, a new pickup truck and plow and annual lease payments for various vehicles.

At the Nov. 13 session, Councilman Bill Furey responded to resident Sheila Williams’ concerns over golf course, fitness center and other city spending by saying, "Council is concerned over spending as well."

Because of the concerns, Furey said he has asked Buccigross to determine what it would cost for an outside entity to look at ways some city departments can be more efficient in their spending and how to manage rising costs.

"In the past we’ve done performance audits for six departments," he said. "We haven’t done them for the police and fire departments and fitness center / swimming pool facilities, and I’d like to see auditors’ recommendations for those areas."

It was noted the past performance audits cost the city about $53,000.

Meanwhile, Furey explained the city has done several things to improve the efficiency of operations and keep spending down. Among them are outsourcing income tax operations to RITA, combining janitorial and maintenance services and combining some operations of the service and parks-rec departments.

"A lot of the concerns from citizens are focusing on the Gleneagles golf clubhouse," Furey said. "With that project, we’ve taken an old building which was pieced together over 35 years and had one working toilet, and replaced it with a facility which will produce revenue.

"We’ve bonded the construction investment over many years, and we did not use general fund money to build the clubhouse, which is only the second building the city has erected since our second firehouse 12 years ago.

"We are committed to doing our best to make the new facility as profitable as possible, and at the same time to keep a sharp eye on city expenditures to benefit all of the citizens."

Furey said that the goal of city officials is to refine operations internally and have a revenue stream from the Aaron and Moses restaurant, banquet center, golf cart rentals and other golf operations to pay off the debt for the $6.1 million clubhouse.

He said he realizes the city has had an increase in staff since it reduced taxes five years ago, noting "employee expenses have gone up and that’s a major cost" for a government entity.

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or klahmers@recordpub.com