Last year, The Enquirer asked leaders of Southwest Ohio’s 15 largest communities – including Deerfield Township and Mason – how much they anticipated spending in 2013 and what else residents might expect.
A year later, we found out if they came in on budget and their forecasts for the coming year.
Most report they’re in better shape now than they were a year ago, when communities – particularly townships – were reeling from a series of cuts by the state to local governments. Delhi Township has weathered a 70 percent cut to its general fund – the fund that pays for day-to-day operations – from 2011 to 2013. Other townships saw their revenues slashed by more than half.
For many of these communities the figure includes money that passes through the township to local school districts.
• Projected spending: $60,706,249
• Actual spending: $61,944,375
• Difference: $1,238,126 more
Deerfield Township spent about $1.2 million more than it had budget ed last year, but not for any one reason, Fiscal Officer John Wahle said. With passage last fall of a 10-year parks levy, the township will fill three or four park department vacancies this year, said Administrator Bill Becker, who also hopes to open the community’s new $4.9 million fire station in September.
Township residents can also expect the continued widening of Irwin-Simpson Road this year, which will continue into 2016. Otherwise the township is “holding the line,” said Becker. One thing affecting the budget are winter storms, Becker said. Deerfield has already tapped into money earmarked for snow and ice removal for next winter to deal with this winter, Becker said.
• Projected spending: $74,047,299
• Actual spending: $71,800,000
• Difference: $2,247,299 less
Mason spent less because the community “always underestimates revenues and overestimates spending,” said Mason spokeswoman Jennifer Trepal. But next year Mason plans to increase spending 18 percent over 2013, from $74 million to $87.4 million. The extra funds will restore a parks maintenance program, sets aside money for Mason’s 2015 bicentennial, creates a new position in the service department and reissues some short-term debt to build a $5 million public works garage by next winter.