NEW FRANKLIN With cash in the city of New Franklin’s police and dispatch budgets at a low point, until new funds come in from the recently increased city income tax, New Franklin City Council again approved a transfer of money from the General Fund to keep the two departments operating.
The transfer of funds to the police and dispatch funds have been standard practice since January, until the city realizes funds from the recently increased city income tax. Voters approved an increase of the city income tax from 1 percent to 2 percent in August 2016. The ballot stated with the income tax increase approval, the city would remove a 1981 2.5-mill continuous police levy. That levy generated about $318,000 annually. The additional 1-percent income tax is expected to generate an additional $1 million. Treasurer Susan Cooke recently confirmed that the city will see about 65 percent of that additional $1 million this year, an estimated $650,000.
At the May 17 meeting, council again approved the transfer of $100,000 from the General Fund into the police fund and $25,000 into the dispatch fund.
"Money is tight," said Cooke.
After the transfer at the May 17 meeting, the general fund balance is now $87,375.67. Cooke noted that since the passage of the 2 percent city income tax, the additional funds have slowly trickled in.
"We have only seen $100,000 of that new tax through May 17," Cooke said. "As the year goes on, by fourth quarter we will see more of the funds, and by 2018, it will come in more steadily and we will back to a regular cash flow."
The balance in the dispatch fund is $3,353.57 and the balance in the police fund is $9,648. 53.
Law Director Tom Musarro explained that local municipalities used to receive funding from the state. He added that when Ohio Gov. John Kasich balanced the state budget in 2016, he "did so on the backs of the local governments." As a result, Cooke estimated that the city has lost $600,000 in state funding during the last two years. Musarro also added that the city is debt free.
In legislation, council again had to table two resolutions, requests from Police Chief Dan Davidson and Fire Chief Steve Leslie to increase the hourly wage newly hied of part-time police officers and newly hired fire fighters in order to attract and keep more part-time workers. Cooke, after the first reading of these resolutions in April, recommended against approval because the additional funds are not there.