By Charlotte Caldwell
SIDNEY – The Sidney City Council held a workshop meeting to discuss the city’s 2024-2028 five-year financial plan on Sept. 5.
Finance Officer Renee DuLaney began the discussion by reviewing current-year projections for the 1.5% permanent income tax collections. She noted that withholding collections year-to-date were up 5.5% but net collections were down 15.1% compared to 2022 collections. She anticipated that 2023 overall collections would be $200,675 or 1.1% less than 2022 levels. City staff is also projecting an annual average increase of 3.2% for income tax revenues.
Utility rates will increase by 2 to 5% from 2023 to 2024 for most existing fees with the exception being 15% annual increases in the capital portion of the stormwater fee to fund infrastructure replacement. With the increases, the typical low-volume user would see a total monthly increase of $1.96, and the average volume family of four would see a total monthly increase of $4.74.
New police public safety telecommunicator and communications manager positions were also included in the plan. DuLaney said with these additions, full-time equivalent staffing numbers remained below 2008 staffing levels.
The tax-supported debt balance at the beginning of 2024 will be $495,000. There is an estimated debt issuance in 2024 of $11.8 million for a new city hall building along with exempt debt for two new fire stations projected at $11.7 million and nearly $1 million for a new fire engine planned for in the same year. A medic unit will be replaced in 2026 for $330,000.
DuLaney also mentioned that nearly $4.7 million would be spent from the city’s general fund to subsidize various funds, including street, waterpark, Shelby Public Transit, airport, cemetery and insurance. The city’s financial share of capital improvement projects totaled nearly $65 million with another $12.5 million in grant dollars expected over the five-year period.
Major tax-supported projects from 2024 to 2028 were highlighted and include the following:
• Campbell Road Reconstruction Vandemark to Kuther, $650,000 capital improvement fund, $2,150,000 street levy fund
• Spruce Street Bridge, city share $922,215 from each capital improvement fund and street levy
• Hoewisher Road and state Route 29 traffic signal $400,000
• Fourth Avenue and Russell Road traffic signal $450,000
• New fire engine and medic unit
• Patrol vehicles for $800,000
• Asphalt Preventative Maintenance of $636,000
• Facility improvements of $393,000
• Modular play equipment of $340,000
• Police various equipment of $297,000
• Brush Truck/Compactor $225,000
• Mobile Communications for Traffic Signal $140,000
Next, City Manager Andrew Bowsher touched on the proposed projects that could come from the street levy fund from 2024 to 2025 and projects that could be completed with a proposed levy from 2025 to 2033. The existing street levy tax of 0.15% could pay for the 2024 to 2025 projects and will end on Dec. 31, 2024. It includes the following projects:
• Campbell Road reconstruction from Vandemark to Kuther Road being paid of nearly $2.2 million from street levy fund
• Spruce Street bridge project city share 50% from street levy fund of $922,215
• State Route 29 curb and gutter of $500,000 from street levy
• Remaining street levy dollars of about $520,000 million will be spent on major street reconstruction and maintenance and major preventative street maintenance
The proposed levy from 2025 to 2033 would be an additional 0.50% permanent levy in lieu of extending the 0.15% street levy. This could fund the following projects for the city, but still with unfunded capital requests of nearly $22 million:
An additional 25.3 full-time equivalent (FTE) for city staff, but 14 FTEs would still remain unfunded.
Street, traffic, and bridge estimated projects:
• CSX Bridge over state Route 47 Repaint $300,000
• South Ohio Avenue from Water to Clay Reconstruction $1.4 million
• Wapakoneta Avenue from Russell to Ohio Reconstruction $1.3 million
• Fourth Avenue from Paul to Russell $2.4 million
Parks improvement projects:
• Splash Pad located at Deam Park $1.1 million
• Downtown Trail Connectivity to Graceland Cemetery & Tawawa $3.1 million
• Skate Park by BK Root Beer’s parking lot $1 million
• Flanagan Sports complex repaving $650,000
Facilities, vehicles, equipment and other:
• Gateway Improvement Plan $400,000
• Additional Fire Medic for $330,000
• Grass Rig for the Fire Department for $170,000
• Bucket Truck & Wood Chipper of nearly $250,000
A resolution adopting the five-year financial plan will be presented for consideration at the Sept. 11 meeting. For the full five-year plan document, visit https://sidneycityoh.documents-on-demand.com/?l=f01766e7e05ee411ac9d001fbc00ed84&r=E7156E8157183F15693EB65C0B8C339F&d=d01e2bceb645ee11a3cf000c29a59557
Councilmember Steve Klingler was absent from the meeting and was excused by the council.
The next City Council meeting will be held on Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall’s council chambers.