GREEN  City Council approved the city’s $32.1 million 2019 operating budget at its final meeting of the year on Dec. 12, following a Dec. 4 budget overview meeting.

During the Dec. 11 meeting, Council president Chris Humphrey commended the finance department and Finance Director Steve Schmidt in particular, for their efforts in preparing the budget.

“(Council) met last Tuesday to hammer out this budget and I appreciate the efforts of Council as well,” Humphrey said.

During that Dec. 4 meeting, however, Councilman At-large Stephen Dyer, questioned the amount of unspent carryover funds from one year to the next. Dyer suggested that some of this money could be spent on infrastructure and other projects to better serve residents.

“In 2016 and 2017, we spent 15 percent less than what was budgeted,” Dyer said.

Schmidt explained that approximately $5 million of the carryover funds is encumbered money.

He added that the city’s perfect bond rating is due in large part to the city’s “strong budgeting performance” and “strong unrestricted fund balance” being carried over each year. If less was budgeted in the carryover, Schmidt said, it would likely result in the administration requesting more appropriation adjustments from Council throughout the year, when emergency purchases arose.

Meanwhile, time was granted by Council on a resolution to approve and adopt the city’s annual capital appropriations for 2019. 

“We are going to see where our (year-end actual) revenues are at,” Humphrey said. “We hope to be able to add some road projects to our (capital improvement projects).”

 The 2019 capital appropriations budget is expected to be voted on at Council’s next regular meeting Jan. 8, 2019.

Other actions

- Council also approved a two-year contract renewal with Aqua Ohio which includes a 3.25 percent rollback on residential rates due to savings experienced by Aqua Ohio as a result of Federal tax code changes.

Aqua Ohio estimates that rates will be 6.7 percent lower than originally negotiated in 2017, with the average residential user saving an estimated $95 total.

- A modification of the city’s 2018 budget appropriations by $56,570 was approved. The budget amendment will in part provide $50,000 in start-up operating funds for the management company hired to operate Raintree Country Club golf operations, following the city’s purchase of the property.  The remaining $6,570 of the budget amendment covers a change order to the Kleckner Baseball Fields project.

- Council also renewed the city’s contract with the Summit County Legal Defenders for indigent defense services at the same fee schedule as the current contract, which expires Dec. 31, 2018; approved a contract renewal with Ports Petroleum, in lieu of competitive bidding, to provide fuel to various city buildings; approved an intergovernmental memorandum of understanding with Summit County for job creation and retention and tax revenue sharing; and approved Council and Mayoral appointments to the city’s design review board, civil service commission, board of zoning appeals, planning and zoning commission, historic preservation commission, parks and recreation board, audit committee, and Living Green task force.