Aurora’s all-funds appropriations down 4.8% for 2021

Ken Lahmers
Special to the Aurora Advocate
Aurora, Ohio

AURORA – The 2021 city appropriations, which were unveiled to Council on Dec. 14, are estimated to be $18.52 million in the general fund, about 1.7 percent up from the start of 2020, and $48.11 million in all funds, about 4.8 percent down from the start of 2020.

Council usually takes final action on the budget by the end of January. The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 11.

“2020 has been a trying year on many levels, but Aurora has weathered the storm and is in a good financial position – able to transfer $2.9 million from the general fund for capital projects and other anticipated expenses in 2021,” said Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin.

“This still leaves $9 million in the general fund as our healthy unofficial rainy day fund. We are fortunate indeed.”

The $9 million general fund carryover is forecast to increase to $9.01 million at the end of 2021 and $10.99 million at the end of 2025. Finance Director Tim Clymer said the general fund balance has increased about $2.76 million since the beginning of 2020.

The all-funds unencumbered balance of $31.6 million heading into 2021 is expected to be $22.2 million at the end of 2021 and $29.96 million at the end of 2025.

All-funds revenue for 2021 is estimated to be $40.4 million (up 0.8 percent from 2020), with expenditures of $50.1 million. General fund revenue is anticipated to be up 2.5 percent. Clymer estimates the city will collect just under $15 million from income taxes, which is 80 percent of general fund revenue.

The departmental breakdown of general fund expenditures expected in 2021 is as follows: police, $5.97 million; fire, $3.29 million; service, $2.74 million; finance, $1.16 million; planning and zoning, $1 million; mayor, $866,213; engineering, $529,489; legal, $462,339; legislative, $271,986; and transfers out of the stormwater capital account, $2.22 million.

The categorical breakdown of general funds are: salaries and wages, $9 million; fringe benefits, $4.26 million; travel and training, $104,360; contractual services, $1.66 million; materials and supplies, $1.35 million; capital outlay, $190,250; and other, $1.95 million.

Among expenditure amounts for other funds are: Bond retirement, $391,088; special revenue (including levies), $4.5 million; capital improvements, $3.61 million; water operations, $3.25 million; water capital, $199,670; sewer operations, $2.07 million.

Sewer capital, $9.4 million; stormwater operations, $281,351; stormwater capital, $850,000; parks-recreation, $2.2 million; special assessments, $25,500; trust and agency, $2.69 million; cemetery, $59,799; septic cleaning, $25,891; and perpetual care, $20,000.

The mayor noted that the city’s full-time headcount will stay at 122 in 2021, and non-union raises are at 2 percent.

Ward 1 Councilman Jim Vaca suggested the administration consider adding personnel in some departments to deal with future growth and a flurry of residential construction.

“I want to specifically thank Tim and his team for carefully monitoring our financial picture through this pandemic year,” the mayor said. “I’m proud that unlike many municipalities, we were able to maintain all of our staff since the pandemic began, which was my priority over any pending projects.

“I think this reflects the fact that we are fairly leanly staffed for a city of 16,000 and do not operate extraneous facilities or functions that could be hit hard during a pandemic or other economic downturn.

“We will continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic on our finances and will adjust our plans as necessary. We’re anxiously looking forward to a new year of opportunities and good fortune.”

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