SIDNEY — The city of Sidney’s 2020 financial outcomes, as well as its 2021 financial plan, have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Most of Sidney’s revenue sources, such as income tax, lodging tax, state-levied-shared taxes (including Local Government Fund distributions and gasoline tax receipts), even water and sewer revenues were negatively impacted by the shut-downs done in response to the virus,” said Ginger Adams, finance officer.
Her report continues:
The City’s permanent 1.5% 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 $13.6 million in 2020, down $1.6 million from the $15.2 million collected in 2019. Approximately $1.1 million of this decrease was attributable to corporate taxes, while taxes withheld from employees declined approximately $554,000 from $11.6 million in 2019 to $11.1 million in 2020. By year end, Federal CARES Act distributions and Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation refunds nearly offset at least the 2020 income tax losses. Tax receipts will continue to be closely monitored.
Sidney’s 2021 operating budget of $30.0 million represents a 0.9% increase from 2020. This budget is based on staffing of approximately 226 full-time equivalents (FTEs). Budgeted 2021 staffing is about 20 FTEs higher than 2012 (the lowest staffing point since the last recession), yet remains 17 FTEs lower than 2008 (the City’s staffing high point). In response to COVID-19 economic disruptions, spending was curtailed. In particular, seven positions are being kept temporarily vacant until operating revenues have returned to prior levels.
Sidney’s additional income tax, dedicated to the repair of Sidney’s streets, alleys, bridges, curbs and gutters, generated $1.4 million in 2020 and $14.0 million since its inception. The current 0.15% tax levy should generate at least $6.7 million over the next four years until it expires on December 31, 2024. Sidney’s 2021 capital budget includes approximately $3.0 million dedicated to street resurfacing with $2.0 million paid for with street tax levy and the remainder coming from the permanent 1.5% income tax levy, additional state gas tax receipts, and license fees.
Utility fee increases are generally in the 1% to 5% range. The average family of four should notice roughly a $3.72 increase in their monthly utility bill, with the low volume user experiencing approximately a $1.72 increase. Slated for 2021 is nearly $1.1 million of sewer plant and distribution system improvements, as well as approximately $1.9 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 2021 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. Another source of information is the City’s Open Finance website, providing a transparent view of the City’s receipts and checkbook. To access, visit www.sidneyoh.com, navigate to the Finance Department page and click on the “Open Finance” option.
Your 2020 Sidney income tax return (or extension) is due no later than April 15, 2021. Forms are available at the City’s website (www.sidneyoh.com) or City Hall office at 201 West Poplar open 8am-5pm Monday through Friday, and 8am-noon on Saturday, April 10, to assist you with Sidney return preparation at no charge. (An exemption form is available for retired/disabled residents having no Sidney taxable income.)