Twinsburg Township passes preliminary $3.5 million budget for 2013

spending likely to increase with addition of Heights road, Marwell drainage projects

by Andrew Schunk | Editor Published:

Twinsburg Township -- Trustees on Dec. 19 approved an early $3.5 million spending plan for 2013, although many of next year's as-yet unlisted capital improvement costs will almost certainly mean the township spends more than that in the new year.

The township approved $5 million in permanent appropriations in March 2012.

"I think we're looking at a plan that keeps the township financially stable in 2013," said Trustee Tom Schmidt. "We anticipate doing a lot of things next year since we know the [Joint Economic Development District] revenue is up over 2012."

Numerous capital projects are notably absent from the early 2013 spending plan, and Trustees will decide early in the year which projects might be added to the list.

Projects that could see funding in 2013 include four phases of the Township Heights road improvement project; engineering and construction costs associated with the Marwell Road retention pond and drainage project; the township's annual road program; and fixes to the property that once housed the Western Reserve Outreach Center.

"I'd like to see progress on the Marwell drainage issue," said Trustee Jamey DeFabio. "And I think we need to look at handling the four phases of the Heights road project all at once ... that would be ideal in keeping costs down."

According township manager Rob Kagler, the township over the past several years has estimated the JEDD revenue, which makes up the vast majority of revenue in the general fund, at between $1.5 and $1.8 million, a conservative estimate of the actual $2.5 million the industrial district (shared with the village of Reminderville) has produced over the past two years.

"The revenue has been significantly higher, so we estimate low each year," Kagler said.

The largest general fund expenses for the township in 2013, according to the 2013 temporary appropriations, will be for salaries (about $500,000); and employee insurance (about $132,000). The general fund sits $1.86 million for 2013, based on 2012 numbers and 2013 estimates.

Schmidt said he would like to see the township's employees receive raises in 2013, though not the township's elected officials (the three Trustees and township Fiscal Officer Tania Johnson), whose annual salaries are, by law, based on the township budget. Salaries for an Ohio township's elected officials have remained unchanged since 2008, according to Kagler.

"Our employees are a tremendous resource," Schmidt said. "I think it's appropriate for them to receive raises in 2013."

Johnson made $28,176 in 2012, while Trustees made $20,568, salaries that are likely to stay the same in 2013. Kagler, the top administrator in the township and whose salary is determined by Trustees each year, was paid $108,324 in 2012, according to the 2013 plan.

After the first of the year, Kagler said he would have a better idea as to what the carryover balance might be from 2012.

"I anticipate a significantly higher carryover than $350,000," Kagler said, referring to the purposefully low annual estimate he uses.

Other necessary expenses in the township's "barebones" spending plan include the safety service contracts and their associated costs, paid from non-general funds that are supported by levies and other specific revenue.

Police service, provided by the Summit County Sheriff's Office, sits at $753,000 for 2013, while fire and EMS service is projected to cost about $564,000. Police service will likely require a subsidy from the general fund in 2013, Kagler said, though the amount of the subsidy is not yet known.

Once again, the township will maintain a 10 percent contingency in the general fund, a safety net that sits at $247,726 for the 2013 spending plan.

The contingency is 10 percent of the target appropriations in the general fund, which for 2013 were earmarked at $2.47 million. Since the township has thus far only budgeted $1.8 million out of the general fund, that leaves between $600,000 and $700,000 that could be spent on capital projects or employee raises, among other uses.

The unknown capital costs keeps the overall early 2013 spending plan undetermined, but it will almost certainly be higher than $3.5 million, Kagler said.

"I anticipate a full discussion on the [capital projects]," he said. "This is a very conservative budget right now."

Permanent appropriations require passage by Trustees and submission to the Summit County Fiscal Office by March 31, 2013.

Email: aschunk@recordup.com

Phone: 330-541-9424

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