The Cleveland City Council approved the fiscal year 2014 budget by a 6-1 vote Monday. The new budget takes effect July 1.
First District Councilman Charlie McKenzie cast the lone no vote because of the attached 18.51 cent property tax increase expected to be voted on in July. The current rate is $1.49 per $100 of assessed value.
At-Large Councilman George Poe commented on cuts the Council imposed on City Manager Janice Casteel during the financial downturn.
“Look how many years we’ve been cutting,” he said. “You’ll bring blood if you cut any deeper.”
Fourth District Councilman David May said, “I guess on the positive end of that, Janice, you’ve combined some departments. You’ve made the city run more efficient — it hasn’t all been bad — but you’ve cut to the bone.”
In response to McKenzie, Casteel said the Council was not passing a tax increase by approving the budget. However, a property tax increase would be needed to pay for all of the items in the budget.
She said Council members could not vote on the tax rate until after it is certified probably in July.
The new budget includes $228.2 million in anticipated revenues from all sources including current and delinquent taxes, nontax revenues and proceeds from the sale of debt, city schools and Cleveland Utilities. Total expenditures were placed at $227.7 million.
The proposed general operating fund was set at $40.678 million. At the end of the current fiscal year, the city estimated it will use none of the $11.9 million General Fund balance. Budget estimates add $578,698 to the fund balance in the next fiscal year.
The general fund is the city’s operating budget from July 1 to June 30, 2014, and includes the cost of police, fire, public works, recreation and all other operating expenses, estimated at $40.672 million.
The new budget reflects 282 full-time equivalent employees, which is an increase over the 270 this year, but less than the 293 on the payroll in FY 2012.
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland commended all department heads “for what you have done. You’ve been frugal with the money you have. You’ve had to cut, cut, cut and work, work, work. We ask you every day to do this and do that.”