FAIRLAWN: City officials approved a $29.7 million budget for 2013 during Monday night’s council meeting.
The total figure includes $14.3 million from the general fund, which is money that can be used whenever it is needed. It also includes the money from a number of other funds, which is allocated for more specific purposes.
“We put the money that’s restricted into a separate pot so that we know exactly what we’re permitted to spend that money on,” said Patricia Bertsch, assistant finance director.
Now that it has passed, the city can move forward with the year’s plans. So far, the biggest project will be the 2013 Street Repair Program, which was also passed at the city council meeting. The project will cost the city $984,628.
According to city officials, forming the budget was a relatively easy process. Bertsch said the only challenge this year was handling personnel requests for new, advanced equipment. But she added such requests are a normal concern of city employees.
“There’s a lot of request for equipment purchasing, improvement to city buildings, roads, and sidewalks,” Bertsch said. She said the problem is sometimes finding a way to handle the requests, but Mayor William Roth often meets up with different groups and committees to determine priorities.
“Every year the requests are more than the money that is allocated.
This year’s budget was $200,000 dollars more than last year’s budget. Bertsch said the city only use the general fund money to determine the difference between the current year and last year in order to avoid including large projects like this year’s Street Repair Program.
According to Bertsch, an increase in wages and benefits accounted for the higher budget.
Although the budget has passed does not mean it is complete. Although they try to anticipate what's going to happen throughout the year, Bertsch said if anything unexpected happens, council will have to make an amendment to the budget.
“I would say we have probably four or five amendments to this until we’re done.”
An example of this includes the 2103 Concrete Slab Replacement Program, which was also passed at the meeting. This project was approved after the budget had been completed, so council will have to amend the budget to adjust.