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Coffers to enjoy surplus in Wadsworth

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WADSWORTH — Service Director Robert Patrick said the city should have just north of $7 million in the bank by the end of 2019, a healthy cash balance in the city’s general fund.

The figure — estimated to be exactly $7,334,622 at the close of next year — continues a trend that started in 2017, a year that marked the city’s return to a positive cash flow.

“That is in essence our bank account balance at the end of the year and what is held on reserve,” Patrick said in an email Wednesday.

City Council recently approved the 2019 final appropriations, which will total $99,195,443.

Patrick said the reason the Wadsworth budget is large compared with other communities in Medina County is because Wadsworth is a “full-service community.”

“All the utilities we have, we have electric, we have the cable and internet, we have our own wastewater treatment plant, we have our own water treatment plant and we have a full street program,” Patrick said.

Patrick said the city has both a balanced general fund and positive balances in every city fund.

While the city was reducing its cash balances between 2013 and 2016 due to a combination of events such as economic factors, a loss of tax revenue and a choice to construct a community pool, Patrick said 2017 marked a return to a positive cash flow for the city. This means the city can look to new projects in the coming year.

The capital projects budget comes in at $9,153,768, which includes new projects and purchases with cash and new debt, but also old debt service payments that have not expired, Patrick said.

Patrick said there are a number of projects on the books for 2019, and range from a $1 million street improvement program to the second phase of a parking lot improvement program.

“A big capital project that folks are going to see constructed sometime next year is going to be the southwest parking lot phase two,” Patrick said. “That is the parking lot area behind Sonnets and those buildings on College Street and just north of that area that we had improved about five years ago.”

The budget does allocate funds for the city to hire additional personnel, but not an unlimited number Patrick said.

“There are a few positions that we are refilling that haven’t been filled for a certain time period such as the (geographic information system) position in engineering,” Patrick said. “If there is a vacancy due to turnover, then that will be filled with current budget for the old position.”

Key raises:
  • Clerk Treasurer Lisa Jones: 2 percent increase, 2019 salary of $31,109
  • Clerk of Wadsworth Municipal Court Cassandra Frye: 3 percent increase,
    2019 salary of $70,360.16
  • Chief Probation Officer Seth Watson:
    3 percent increase, 2019 salary of $53,560.
  • Assistant Director of Law Tom Morris:
    3 percent increase, 2019 salary of $35,920.

City employees who do not belong to a collective bargaining unit received a raise of between 2 and 3 percent, while police, fire and EMS belonging to collective bargaining units and are in negotiations. Patrick said both contracts are set to expire at the end of 2018.

“So it hasn’t been determined on what those wage increases would be yet,” he said.

Ward 1 Councilman Ralph Copley said Wednesday that he is happy with the budget overall.

“I think it was a very good budget, actually, “Copley said.

“There are some increases in there that I have concerns about but that goes with the times, things are getting more expensive.”

At-Large Councilwoman Patty Haskins said she was also satisfied with the annual city budget for 2019.

“I am very pleased with it,” Haskins said Wednesday. “I think that Wadsworth has a history of working within a balanced budget while maintaining quality services.”

Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at nhavenner@medina-gazette.com.


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