Twinsburg OKs reduced budget for 2021

Ken Lahmers, Correspondent
Kent Weeklies

TWINSBURG – City officials are ready to move into the new year with a temporary budget in place, which sets general fund expenditures at $28.39 million and appropriations in all funds at $40.68 million.

Council OK’d the temporary budget at its Dec. 8 meeting. The expenses are down from $29.91 million in the general fund and $53.3 million in all funds at the start of 2020. Permanent appropriations must be adopted by March.

Finance Director Sarah Buccigross said previously the much lower number in all funds is largely because of the rollover of the Gleneagles Golf Course clubhouse note. Golf course appropriations in 2020 were set at $9.77 million, while they are expected to be $1.33 million in 2021.

Buccigross said the 2021 appropriations amount to a 24 percent decrease in all funds’ expenses, or 12 percent after the clubhouse note rollover is factored in, and an 18 percent decrease in revenue. Clubhouse bond payments of $403,000 a year start in 2021, while the golf course land acquisition bond will be paid off.

Buccigross said a full year of COVID-19 effects are plugged into the 2021 budget, “but hopefully those will lessen as the crisis ends.” She added no COVID-19 relief is expected in 2021, but that could change.

Income tax collections for 2021 are estimated at $22 million. Income tax revenue was $23.5 million in 2019, and is expected to be $21.5 million this year. Buccigross said the city is 86 percent dependent on income tax.

Council also approved 2021 millage rates as determined by the Summit County Budget Commission and authorized the following tax levies for 2021: 0.3 mills each for police and fire pensions (generating $195,248 each) and 1.33 mills for a parks bond issue (generating $852,580).

Council authorized a cost of living increase of 2.5 percent for non-union city employees, and OK’d a special assessments petition for lighting improvements at the community center, which will allow the city to receive $550 from the Akron-Summit County Energy Special Improvement District.

Three residents urged the city to reverse a decision to suspend group activities at the fitness center, especially the Twinsburg Competitive Aquatics Team program.

Mayor Ted Yates explained the city took the action to provide the safest atmosphere during the COVID-19 crisis, which is consistent with what some nearby communities are doing. “It’s a difficult situation, but I ask residents to bear with us; we’ll try to get the kids back in the water soon,” he said.

Councilman Bill Furry said he respects Parks-Recration Director Derek Schroeder’s decision to suspend group activities “in a tough year,” partially because of a reduced staff.

Council upheld the board of zoning appeals’ decision to deny a variance request which would have exempted New Adventures Early Learning & Child Development Center from installing sidewalks at its proposed new site at Summit Commerce Park and Darrow Road. Owner Thomas Lane had cited cost as the reason for his request.

Law Director David Maistros reported a first draft of a new sign code has been completed and will be ready for Council’s perusal in January.

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