Cuyahoga Falls Budget Staying Afloat Despite Battered Economy
In 2013, Cuyahoga Falls officials predict the city will absorb state budget cuts and a downturn in the economy with the help of a projected $32 million general fund budget.
On Dec. 27 Cuyahoga Falls City Council approved the projected 2013 budget, which totaled $176 million with $32 million going into the general fund.
Given the two-sided economic challenge the city is facing, the high general fund balance will be of critical importance.
Cuyahoga Falls Finance Director Joe Brodzinski told the Falls News Press it's the first time in at least 20 years the city has simultaneously dealt with state budget cuts and a downturn in the economy.
Specifically, his projections indicate the city will lose $2.1 million in 2013 due to cuts to the commercial activity tax, estate tax and local government funds; it will receive $633,000 less in property taxes in 2013 versus 2010; and will collect $150,000 in interest on investments in 2013 compared with the $2.5 million in interest the city received in 2001.
To stay afloat, city officials have eliminated personnel, cut some workers' hours and combined positions to save over $7 million.
Mayor Don Robart told the Falls News Press the cuts to deficit-spending, known as austerity, have been implemented over the last eight years, and allowed the city to end each of the last three years (2010-12) with record-high general fund cash balances.
The remainder of the 2012 general fund, for instance, will cover a projected $1.9 million shortfall in the 2013 budget; and Brodzinski predicts the general fund cash balance will total $5.53 million at the end of 2013.
With that kind of carryover, the city has been able to maintain its services and avert serious economic problems.
According to the Cuyahoga Falls Finance Committee, which is comprised of three city council members -- chairwoman Diana Colavecchio, Don Walters and Jeff Iula -- the feeling is city and elected officials have worked well together to weather the storm.
Each council member told Patch via email the 2013 budget approval process went "smoothly," and said there has been no talk of layoffs or levy proposals to battle present economic conditions.
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