Aurora’s total budget for 2021 is $48.15 million

Ken Lahmers
Special to the Aurora Advocate
Aurora, Ohio

AURORA — City Council has approved the 2021 appropriations, including updated salaries for employees.

The figures show about $18.41 million in the general fund, 1.6% up from the start of 2020, and about $48.15 million in all funds, 4.8% down from the start of 2020.

After discussing the budget and proposed raises with Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin in a lengthy executive session, council adopted them by an 8-1 vote, with John Kudley opposing.

“There’s a lot of things in the budget that the public will be happy with,” Kudley said, “but I’m opposed to certain individuals getting 4 percent to 7 percent raises; I think those are excessive.” Most employees received a 2% raise.

Finance Director Tim Clymer reported the general fund started 2021 with a balance of about $10.15 million, an increase of about $400,000 from the start of 2020.

“The city is maintaining the general fund at a level consistent with the informal policy of at least three months of operating expenditures as an emergency reserve, equating to about $8 million to $9 million,” he said.

The water and sewer funds ended 2020 with balances of about $1.8 million and $2.83 million, respectively. The water capital fund decreased by $960,000 as a result of the East Pioneer Trail waterline project, while the sewer capital fund increased by $330,000.

“We will rely on the sewer capital fund balance of $4.77 million to help pay for the significant improvements budgeted this year for the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant,” said Clymer.

Income tax revenue decreased by $566,000 compared to 2019, and there were decreases in other revenue lines such as interest income and hotel taxes. But the city was buoyed by aggressive Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation rebates ($825,000) and federal CARES Act ($968,000) funds.

The budget includes a 1% salary increase for Law Director Dean DePiero, which was reduced from 2%. He will earn $147,511 in 2021.

The mayor’s salary is $103,025, including longevity pay, while council members will get $11,300 each. Council president George Horvat will get an additional $1,500, committee of the whole chairman John Kudley an additional $1,200 and planning commission representative Kathi Grandillo $1,000 more.

Department heads’ salaries, including longevity, are: Service Director Harry Stark, $120,507; Clymer, $108,678; Police Chief Brian Byard, $116,290; Fire Chief David Barnes, $115,370; Planning-Zoning-Building Director Denise Januska, $101,419; Chief of Staff-HR Director Karen Pope, $96,155; and Parks-Rec Director Laura Holman, $91,364.

Assistants to department heads will get the following: Fire-Matt McBirney, $105,462; service-David Frisbee, $80,604; finance-Leah Cellura, $82,679; PZB-Meredith Davis, $79,420; paralegal Angie Pereces, $75,754; and mayor’s executive Kristine Allen, $66,418.

Other key administrative salaries are: City Engineer Justin Czekaj, $97,129; engineer Sara Cooper, $80,521; police Lt. Rob Hagquist, $107,838; police Lt. Andrew Lumpkins, $107,478; building electrical inspector Michael Bieler, $78,691; water supervisor Michael Reker, $68,937; wastewater manager Andrew Krispinsky, $97,129.

Wastewater supervisor James Slechta, $57,359; public service supervisor Kevin Fowler, $61,947; construction-inspection manager Edward Verner, $68,228; arborist Ben Askren, $63,129; parks coordinator Bill Fellenstein, $66,711; grounds coordinator Nicholas Miller, $56,331; IT manager (vacant), $48,642.

Clerk of Council Donna Hawks, $74,446; planning-zoning inspector (vacant), $60,159; sports coordinator Ed Poremba, $54,107; senior coordinator Colleen Martin, $50,174; accountant Halli Small, $56,998; PZB assistant Marie Lawrie, $49,426; service assistant Karen Stacko, $52,068; payroll administrator Marcy Janus, $58,494.

The total wages and longevity pay for the above non-union positions amount to $3 million.

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