SIDNEY — The city of Sidney’s permanent 1.5 percent income tax is its primary revenue source supporting services including police, fire, emergency medical, parks and community recreation.
“This portion of Sidney’s income tax generated $15.2 million in 2019, down $1.1 million from the $16.3 million collected in 2018,” said Ginger Adams, finance officer. “Approximately $1.0 million of this decrease was attributable to corporate taxes. Corporate taxes are a volatile revenue source subject to upward, as well as downward, swings from year to year. Case in point, corporate tax receipts totaled $3.1 million in 2017, jumping to $4.6 million in 2018 before declining to $3.6 million in 2019.”
Her report continues: Taxes withheld from employees remained consistent at $11.6 million for both 2018 and 2019. Without the use of available cash fund reserves this tax decline could have led to emergency staff reductions and capital project postponements. City staff and Council are committed to conservative budgeting and reserve policies. As such, City services were not impacted. Tax receipts will continue to be closely monitored and, if needed, budget adjustments made.
Sidney’s 2020 operating budget of $31.3 million represents a 5 percent increase from 2019. This budget is based on staffing of approximately 234 full-time equivalents (FTEs), an increase of about 4 FTEs from the prior year. Budgeted 2020 staffing has grown by about 27 FTEs since 2012 (the lowest staffing point since the last recession, yet remains 9 FTEs lower than 2008 (the city’s staffing high point).
Sidney’s additional 0.25 percent income tax, dedicated to the repair of Sidney’s streets, alleys, bridges, curbs and gutters, generated $2.5 million in 2019 and $12.6 million since its inception. This tax ended Dec. 31, 2019. Recognizing the need to continue funding of vital roadway improvements, voters approved an additional 0.15 percent income tax for another five years, from Jan. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2024. Over the new five-year levy, this tax should generate at least $7.8 million.
Sidney’s 2020 capital budget includes approximately $3.7 million dedicated to street resurfacing with $2.5 million paid for with street tax levy and about $600,000 paid from the first 1 ½ years of additional state gas tax receipts. Utility fee increases are generally in the 1 percent to 5 peercent range. The average family of four should notice roughly a $3.60 increase in their monthly utility bill, with the low volume user experiencing approximately a $1.65 increase. Slated for 2020 is nearly $1.7 million of sewer plant and distribution system improvements, as well as approximately $1.4 million of water plant and line replacements.
You may opt to receive your Sidney utility bill electronically. You have immediate, 24/7 secure access to your billing information with a 13-month history at your fingertips and its environmentally friendly. To switch, visit our website’s home page at www.sidneyoh.com and click on the “Online Payments” box. Create your account using information from your most recent utility statement.
The city is dedicated to providing responsible financial management of its public resources. View Sidney’s 2020 budget, audited annual financials, and monthly financials at http://sidneycityoh.minutesondemand.com/. Open the “City Financial Information” box on the page’s lower-left corner. New for 2020 is the City’s Open Finance website, providing a transparent view of the City’s receipts and checkbook. To access, visit www.sidneyoh.com and click on the “Open Finance” box.
Your 2019 Sidney income tax return (or extension) is due no later than April 15, 2020. Forms are available at the City’s website (www.sidneyoh.com) or City Hall office at 201 W. Poplar open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m.- to noon on Saturday, April 4, to assist you with Sidney return preparation at no charge. (An exemption form is available for retired/disabled residents having no Sidney taxable income.)