Northwood’s budget for 2013 is higher than last year, but not by much.
Council approved next year’s budget at a meeting on Dec. 13.
“I think we’re holding our own,” said Administrator Bob Anderson after the meeting.
Council approved $4,495,000 in appropriations for the 2013 general fund, slightly higher than this year’s budget of $4,450.000, according to Finance Director Ken Yant.
The city is facing some challenges with the loss this year of two long time businesses, Hostess Brands, Inc., on Wales Road, and The Andersons at the Woodville Mall.
“Normally, we factor an increase in income tax overall. But this year, after we found out about the businesses, we reduced our projections,” said Yant. “I had originally projected a 2.5 percent increase in income tax revenue. Now I’m projecting a 2.5 percent decrease.”
“We suffered a few setbacks,” said Anderson. “As far Hostess, it’s a pretty valuable building. I’m pretty optimistic that the assets for Hostess will be sold and someone will snap up that building. It’s a great location.”
The loss in revenue, he added, will be offset by an expected increase in output by Johnson Controls as a result of its contract with Jeep. “They’re going to gear up for that next year,” said Anderson. “Our local economy won’t grow. But it should stay, at least, flat. I’m still going to be optimistic about spring and summer 2013.”
Economic jitters over whether President Obama can negotiate a deal with Congress by Dec. 31 and avoid steep tax hikes and spending cuts, known as the “fiscal cliff,” affects local economies, said Anderson.
“Hopefully, when we get this financial stuff straightened out in Washington, we’ll have a better idea. It will determine whether or not people are going to invest or just lay back and wait to see what will happen. There’s money out there, but a lot of people are just reluctant to spend it.”
Council recently repealed an amendment to the city’s tax code that was passed in 2010 that eliminated a 10 percent income tax disbursement into the capital replacement fund and reallocated it into the general fund. The city had hoped to reduce the strain on the general budget, which had been cut as a result of fewer income tax collections that year.
The city had disbursed 70 percent of income taxes into the general fund, 20 percent into the capital improvements fund, and 10 percent into the capital replacement fund before the amendment. After council voted to eliminate the capital replacement fund, 80 percent of the income tax was disbursed into the general fund, and 20 percent into the capital improvements fund.
“Council wanted to go back and save for more projects,” said Anderson.
“By changing the allocation to 70 percent, we’ll see $100,000 less in the general budget,” said Yant. As a result, the city had to find $100,000 to cut in the general fund. Plans to hire an employee in the Streets Department for an an annual salary of $60,000, and scaling back requests for increased spending in the fire department are among the cuts.
“Plans to hire a streets worker had been in the budget for a couple of years, but we never hired anyone, so cutting it from next year’s budget didn’t hurt anything,” said Yant. “The rest is just scaling back what the fire department had asked for that was a little over and above the 2012 budget.”