BROOKVILLE – At the May 19 Brookville City Council meeting City Manager Sonja Keaton presented a special 26-page program on the state of the city of Brookville finances.
That presentation was geared, Keaton said after that meeting, to help focus discussion on ways that the city could look to possibly open avenues for revenue streams.
“We have to find other revenue streams,” Keaton said.
The main source of revenue has been the municipal income tax and with employers cutting back or shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic that revenue source at current or past levels is not going to be the same.
Keaton said that the city may have to look at cutting back some services due to reduce income tax revenues.
Plus, the folks at Moody’s Investors Service have mentioned to city leaders, Keaton said, that the city needs to look at “diversifying” the revenue streams for the city.
Any decrease in bond rating could endanger future bond issuances for city projects.
“We are walking a fine line as we have the police and fire departments, and administrative services, funded out of the general fund (funded through the income tax),” said Keaton. “If we can save some money transitioning out of the general fund, we can free up resources that we use the general fun for.”
She said that the trick for city leaders, including the council, is to find ways to best explain these needs to the citizens.
While the fire department does have fire protection contracts with Clay and Perry Townships, plus billing for EMS services, she said it would be nice to find ways to possibly fund the operations of the fire department (after the aforementioned contracts and EMS billing are received) and possibly street maintenance through other sources, possibly with operating levies voted upon by citizens.
Keaton cited that no street projects, other than regular maintenance projects, or major parks improvements have been initiated recently and she does not want to over burden the general fund that may begin to be burdened by lower tax revenues.
“We need some direction from council (members),” Keaton said, as she looks for further discussions with the council members in the coming weeks.
“I would like for us to have six months of reserve funds built up,” Keaton said, noting that “it is getting harder and harder to cut (funded projects).”
It was just recently that levies to help fund the police department as well as street maintenance were turned by the voters.
The funds presentation looked at the ways that state and federal funding has been trimmed cutting back on revenue streams coming into the city.
Keaton also noted that when it comes to lining up grant funding to pay for public works project, like the state of Ohio Issue II programs for infrastructure, those grant requests are looked upon more favorably if the local governments can contribute higher shares of local funding to projects.
Those local funds could be aided with having more flexible city revenue streams, Keaton noted.
Keaton noted that the entire presentation, with some updates requested by Council members at the May 19 meeting, is now up on the city Web site, www.brookvilleohio.com.
By Kevin OBoyle [email protected]