Treasurer gives update on 5-year forecast

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — An update on the five-year forecast — which includes recent changes made by the Sidney City Schools Board of Education — was reviewed during Tuesday night’s special meeting.

“The plan for the next two years shows the impact of the May tax passing or failing,” said Treasurer Mike Watkins. “With all the (personnel) changes that have been going on, it looks different.”

He said the areas which have been impacted by the reduction in force changes includes salaries, benefits, purchased services and supplies.

“We have a reduction in salaries and benefits,” said Watkins. “And an increase in purchased services through the (Midwest Regional) Educational Service Center.”

Watkins said the district is seeing a savings by outsourcing the hiring of aides through the MRESC.

Watkins said the district also is saving money with the elimination of a secretary’s position, eliminating 45 hours for summer staff and the maintenance department reduced to 250 days per employee (reduction of 10 days).

The impact on salaries is a savings of $2,977,412.14, which includes a reduction in administrative salaries of $156,063; aides hired through MRESC, $986,357; custodians outsourced as contracted services, $790,222; secretary eliminated, $34,487; elimination of 45 hours of summer help, $21,800; and maintenance reduced to 250 days, $11,236.

The savings to the district through a reduction of retirement and benefits is $1,636,118.78.

The net impact of purchased services — which includes the aides hired through the MRESC — is $1,956,329. The district is saving $156,748 in supplies, which includes cancellation of uniforms and cleaning supplies not needed due to contracted services.

When all the totals are added together, the district is saving $2,813,949.92, which is reflected on the updated five-yer-forecast.

Watkins also presented information on what the passage or failure of the .75 earned income tax levy on May’s ballot would have on the five-year forecast. Without the levy, the district would operate in the red by the end of 2025.

“We are doing all we can to balance the budget,” said Watkins, “but we need new funding, and we’re not getting any new funding from the state.

“If we can get an additional revenue source then we can change the direction of what the (fund balance) line does,” said Watkins. “We’ll be able to stabilize funding. We can look internally to make sure we’ve made good choices. If we are successful in May, I can see this sustaining us for a long period of time.”

In his monthly financial report to the board, Watkins said the final tax advance for the second half of fiscal year 2021 was received in January. The property taxes collected for January was less than budgeted by $518,947 or 7.66% less. The district will receive a second advance and final payment of tax collections in February.

He said the triennial update to properties in Shelby County was conducted in 2020, which changed the valuation of properties. Agriculture properties saw valuations going down by $5,673,890, but the valuation of residential properties went up by $53,482,920. Due to the increase, the millage associated with these types of properties was completely rolled back to the 20-mill floor.

“Because of this, the district should see some type of an increase in taxes collected on these properties,” Watkins wrote in his report to the board. “We won’t know the impact of hitting the 20-mill floor until all tax collections are received.”

Expenditures for the year to date are $1,368,181 or 5.74% less than budgeted because of cuts made to salary and benefits and purchased services.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822,

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822,