Twinsburg plans $3.2 million in capital spending in 2021

Ken Lahmers
Correspondent
The city plans to spend more than $1 million on road paving and striping next year.

TWINSBURG – City Council is gearing up for the 2021 budgeting process, with temporary appropriations slated to be in place by the end of the year and permanent appropriations to be adopted in March 2021.

The process kicked off recently with the capital improvements board reducing money requests from department heads by $2.66 million, leaving about $3.2 million to be spent. The board initially had set a goal of $1.7 million in reductions.

The capital improvement recommendations were discussed at the finance committee’s Sept. 22 session. Councilman Scott Barr, who serves as finance chairman, called the board’s work “no small task,” and other Council reps praised the board for its dedicated service.

One major planned improvement is a new community center roof at $440,000. Other proposed expenditures over $100,000 include  annual road program, $925,000; road striping, $200,000; 5-ton truck and chip box, $195,000; second year of fleet replacement, $180,800; East Idlewood project, $150,000; and catch basin repair, $120,000.

The breakdown of planned improvements by category is: infrastructure, $1.46 million; service, $941,740; fire, $187,800; police, $254,800; land and development $130,000; golf maintenance, $87,500; engineering and development, $22,100; other fitness center, $45,000; and wastewater, $35,500.

In other financial matters, Council OK’d legislation providing for the re-issuance and sale of bonds worth $7.14 million associated with the Gleneagles Golf Course clubhouse construction.

Bond adviser Matthew A. Stuczynski explained the total amount will be split 50/50 between taxable bonds and tax exempt bonds, which will increase flexibility since the city has turned over operation of the clubhouse’s restaurant and banquet center operations to a private firm.

The current bond anticipation notes come due in February 2021. Stuczynski said the re-issuance will allow the city to capitalize on low interest rates, with the interest rates expected to be between 1.5 and 2 percent. The bonds will be paid off in 25 years.

Meanwhile, Stuczynski told the finance panel the Nov. 3 ballot issue to reduce allowable charter millage from 7 to 2 could weaken the city’s AA2 bond rating.

“Any reduction in financial flexibility can weaken the city’s financial profile,” he noted. “Having the ability to increase millage is a good financial tool and can strengthen a city’s bond rating whether the extra millage is used or not.”

Finance Director Sarah Buccigross reported the city’s income tax revenue is down about $1.57 million through September, which is in line with predictions made by the Regional Income Tax Agency. Council reduced 2020 budget revenues by $4.3 million and expenditures by $2.1 million.

Buccigross said the city has received about $402,000 from the first two rounds of the state’s portion of Cares Act COVID-19 funding. The city has committed most of that money to specific uses, but still has about $170,000 not committed.

Buccigross said the remaining $170,000 could be used for grants to non-profit organizations and businesses, or could be retained by the city for further COVID-related expenses. The finance panel held off deciding how to spend the remaining funds.

Among items for which those funds already have been used are thermo-scanning equipment, barriers and dividers, signage, cleaning supplies and PPE, HVAC air filters and disinfecting equipment, protective gear and medical equipment and furniture.

Council recently authorized spending $115,000 of the money to retro-fit restrooms with touchless fixtures and add paper towel and soap dispensers. Previously, the city had OK’d $85,000 for the project, but an expanded scope increased the cost.

Council also recently increased the 2020 general fund appropriations by $542,000 to reflect Cares Act funding channeled through Summit County. That money must be spent on payroll for police, fire and dispatch services.

Buccigross reported that as of Sept. 22, Round 3 Cares Act funding had passed the Ohio Senate, but was still being discussed in the House. Twinsburg stands to receive up to $600,000 more if Round 3 is approved.

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