SOLON, Ohio -- The city finished 2016 with an unencumbered balance of close to $16 million, with no plans to use any of those cash reserves in this year's budget.
City Finance Director Matt Rubino, who took over the post in May, was scheduled to present the year-end totals to council this week.
In a tally sheet to council's Finance Commitee, Rubino noted that income tax collections for 2016 came in at about $42.6 million, very close to the budget estimate.
Of that amount, about $32 million or 75 percent went into the General Fund, while $10.6 million or 25 percent went toward the city's Infrastructure Fund.
In all, the General Fund operating revenue totaled $41.6 million in 2016, while operating revenues and transfers added up to $43.8 million.
However, with budget transfers accounting for more than $7 million last year, operating expenditures were only $36.5 million, which was actually 7.5 percent below the 2016 approved budget of $39.4 million.
One of those transfers included the city's Budget Stabilization Fund, which received an additional $1 million in 2016, bringing its total to $6.2 million, Rubino noted earlier.
An additional $500,000 transfer was also being considered into that account, to be used on a a restricted basis in three areas: operating budget shortfalls, other one-time expenses and economic development.
"The 2016 budget assumed a use of reserves of over $5 million, but the actual planned draw on reserves was $2.3 million at year's end," Rubino stated.
And while the General Fund ending balance has dropped from nearly $22.5 million in 2014 then almost $17.8 million in 2015, last year's $16 million is still about 36.5 percent of the city's annual expenditures.
"This exceeds the city's reserve policy of 20 percent-to-25 percent of the balance (as a percentage to expenditures)," Rubino explained.
Meanwhile the $43 million budget for 2017 -- even with another $19 million set aside for capital projects -- has balanced operating revenues with operating expenditures and no use of cash reserves is planned, Rubino added.
The totals for "all funds" operating revenue -- excluding capital funds -- came in at $62.4 million, over 10 percent higher than the budget estimate.
At the same time, operating expenditures for all funds totaled nearly $61 million and were 8.3 percent less than last year's approved budget.
Overtime costs for 2016 were about 16 percent lower than the approved budget. and contractual and professional services nearly 8 percent lower than what was budgeted for last year, Rubino noted.
As for expenditures on health care claims and related administrative expenditures for 2016, they came in at under $5 million, about $635,000 or 11.3 percent under the budgeted amount.
This was also the first time that Solon officials wrapped up the pending annual budget by year's end, rather than passing temporary appropriations for the first quarter and working on the rest of the year's budget into March.
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