City of Celina
225 North Main Street
Celina, OH 45822

City of Celina, Ohio
Frequently Asked Questions: 2010 Financial Picture
Why did the City of Celina have over $1,100,000 carry-over in the General Fund on 12/31/10?

The December 31, 2010 General Fund carry-over was the result of a variety of factors.

Some of the carry-over is the direct result of prudent management of taxpayer's money through positions being eliminated and other "savings".

But some of the carry-over is the result of postponing spending, not eliminating the need to spend:

  • Equipment going without needed maintenance,
  • Road repairs being postponed,
  • Broken water lines being patched rather than replaced,
  • The transfer of $300,000 from the fire truck account, and
  • Capital equipment not being replaced though it is time to do so.

And some of the carry-over is the result of sacrifices made by employees that are now wondering if their sacrifice was really necessary.

How much money should the City of Celina carry-over each year?

A General Fund carry-over of $300,000 - $400,000 minimum is necessary to pay January expenses each year. An additional contingency going into December is wise in case of equipment failure, a heavy winter storm causing higher than normal street clearing expense, or any other necessary unanticipated expenses. Other municipalities our size have General Fund carry-overs in the millions of dollars each year.

Celina's Bonding company recommends a $1,200,000 carry-over or more (at least 20% of General Fund).

Prior to 2009 the carry-over had been over $1,000,000 for several years to give a cushion in case of a sudden economic downturn causing lower revenues. In 2006 our carry-over was $1,306,838, in 2007 it was $1,193,619 and in 2008 it was $1,232,725. These amounts of carry-over kept our employees working and services continuing to the Residents of Celina through the FY2009.

What did city leaders do to lower spending in 2010?
  • Non-union and union staff members forwent pay increases.
  • A position, Engineering Assistant, was not refilled as an employee resigned on April 1, 2010.
  • A position was not filled in Public Works and one remains unfilled in the Fire Department.
  • Two positions were eliminated in the Parks & Recreation Department resulting in lay-offs not subject to recall.
  • One part-time position was cut from Courts.
  • One part-time position was reduced in the Tax Department.
  • One part-time position was reduced that was shared by the Auditor's office and the Public Works Department.
What voluntary concessions did employees make in 2010?
  • All non-bargaining members and Department Heads agreed to freeze wage increases for one year including merit and step increases.
  • The Safety Service Director's hours were reduced from 40 to 35 hours per week.
  • All bargaining unit members renewed their contracts for one year with no change in insurance, and no wage increases including step increases.
  • Members of the Police Department agreed to voluntary lay-offs and furloughs.
  • Members of the Fire Department agreed to voluntary furloughs, to not receive their Health Savings Account payments, and to work holidays for straight pay for the second half of 2010.
  • Members of the CMERC bargaining unit made payments to the city through personal checks to the City of Celina or payroll deduction.
Why didn't city leaders stop the employees' concessions when the available balance was clearly rising in the fall?

City leaders were told that the carry-over would be $500,000 - $1,000,000 in December, and then $1,100,000 in January. Before that city leaders didn't know the carry-over would be so large. Month end numbers aren't available until the middle of the next month, meaning November's available balance wasn't known until mid-December, 2010.

During the summer of 2010, what did the City Auditor project the "Available Balance" to be?

With no changes to spending from what was appropriated for 2010, the available balance in the General Fund was projected by the auditor to drop throughout 2010. The chart below shows what the available balance was projected to be by December 31, 2010.

What other changes in revenue is the City of Celina expecting in 2011 and thereafter?
  • The State of Ohio is likely to keep revenues from the KW Hour Tax to help balance the State's budget. The KW Hour Tax generated $540,000 for Celina in 2010.
  • The State of Ohio is also likely to cut the budget line that funds Local Government revenue which Celina had been receiving through county from state funds. In 2010 Local Government revenue generated $350,000 for Celina.
  • Also, the State of Ohio has slated the elimination of the Estate Tax for 2013. In 2010 the Estate Tax generated over $110,000 for Celina.
What amount of carry-over was the City Auditor projecting after the books closed each month?

The carry-over balance was projected by the auditor to be $400,000 through the summer and fall of 2010. The chart below shows what the carry-over balance was projected to be at month end for each month of 2010.

Shouldn't City Officials be able to estimate that carry-over more accurately?

Maybe, but many revenues are difficult to estimate, for instance:

  1. Collections of past due real estate and property tax
  2. Collections of real estate tax
  3. Inheritance tax
  4. Income tax (increases as people are called back to work or get a new job) especially with the uncertainty going into the Holiday Season.

In 2010, revenue exceeded projections by $175,000.

At the same time, given the request of Mayor LaRue, Department Heads didn't spend money that was appropriated leaving $644,000 that was appropriated, unexpended and unencumbered.

What do you mean by appropriation, expenditure, and encumbrance?
  • Appropriation: A sum of money, approved by Council that has been set aside from a budget for a specific purpose.
  • Expenditure: An amount of money spent, as a whole or on a particular thing. In this case, expenditures are appropriated through the budget and paid through a purchase order if over $3,000.
  • Encumbrance: To set aside money to pay a debt, in this case a purchase order, that has been processed, but not yet paid.
Is the 0.5% Additional Income Tax Necessary?

Absolutely. The budget proposed for 2011 relies on the revenue from the additional 0.5% income tax to balance. And our 30+ year old fire trucks still need to be replaced. And other expenses were postponed in late 2010 knowing that the additional income tax was on the way.

How will the revenue from the 0.5% Additional Income Tax be spent?

The 0.5% additional income tax Issue language included, "for the operational expenses, capital equipment purchases and capital improvements in support of the City's Safety Departments of Fire and Police for a period of 7 years." The revenue generated from the increase can ONLY be used for the Fire and Police Departments.

How can I get current, accurate information about the City of Celina's revenue and appropriations?

Information will be available for the citizens of Celina each month after the books are closed for the month. That information can be picked up at the utilities building or the tax office.

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