AURORA — The 2020 city appropriations are estimated to be $18.04 million in the general fund and $48.1 million in all funds. The proposed budget was introduced last month and City Council usually takes final action by the end of January.

City officials anticipate a general fund budget surplus of $2.7 million will be carried over into 2020, with a "rainy day" fund of about $9 million, rising to $9.02 million heading into 2021. Last year’s general fund budget was $17.54 million, and it is expected to rise to $19.1 million in 2024.

Last year’s all-funds budget was $35.64 million. The $12.5 million of additional money in all funds is attributed to nearly $18 million in capital projects planned for 2020 (see related story), including $9 million for central wastewater treatment plant upgrades.

The departmental breakdown of general fund expenditures expected in 2020 is as follows: police department, $5.67 million; fire department, $3.112 million; service department, $2.73 million; finance, $1.17 million; planning and zoning, $973,135; mayor, $886,729; engineering, $509,788; legal, $491,857; legislative, $4267,987; and civil service, $18,570. Transfers out of the stormwater capital fund amount to $2.18 million.

The categorical breakdown of general funds are: salaries and wages, $8.66 million; fringe benefits, $4.17 million; travel and training, $103,060; contractural services, $1.65 million; materials and supplies, $1.33 million; capital outlay, $300,750; and other, $1.82 million.

Finance Director Tim Clymer said income tax collections make up about 80% of the general fund revenue, and they are expected to be about $14.34 million in 2020.

Among budgeted amounts for other funds are: Debt service, $417,982; special revenue (including levies), $4.14 million; capital improvements, $3.33 million; water operations, $4.83 million; water capital, $109,670; sewer operations, $2.17 million; sewer capital, $9.42 million; stormwater operations, $289,207; stormwater capital, $475,000; parks-recreation, $2.07 million; trust and agency, $2.61 million; cemetery, $131,539; and septic cleaning, $27,000.

In summarizing the budget at City Council’s Dec. 16 session, Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin said, "We continue to improve our beautiful community, and I greatly appreciate council’s support. Together, we are making strategic and significant investments in the future of Aurora."

Councilman-at-Large John Kudley said after he examines the budget more carefully, he expects to bring a number of questions, concerns and ideas to council’s Jan. 13 meeting.

In response to the mayor’s plans to budget nearly $392,000 for sidewalk work (new sections and repairs to existing stretches), Ward 1 Councilman Jim Vaca said he is not in favor of spending a lot for that. He said the money could be better spent to repair roads, including many that haven’t been repaved in years in the Geauga Lake neighborhood.

"I think there are a lot more cars using the roads than people using the sidewalks," he said.

Ward 2 Councilman Dennis Kovach said he would like to see some money go toward erecting a cell phone tower on Townline Road. "For some reason, the service out there seems to be getting worse," he said. "If possible, let’s look into it."

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