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www.wmfd.com - The Mansfield Finance Committee reviewed the 2013 budget proposal for the city of Mansfield. }}" />

   
 
 
2013 Budget Proposal Could Eliminate City's Safety Deficit

Story By: Brigitte Coles

 

 

 
 
 
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  Original Published: 1/16/2013

The Mansfield Finance Committee reviewed the 2013 budget proposal for the city of Mansfield at their meeting Tuesday night.

Finance director Linn Steward said city officials did a great job working together on this year's budget proposal for the state auditor which will eliminate the safety deficit.

"Early in the budget process we anticipated a 2013 budgetary deficit of $2.9 million dollars when budget requests were compared to projected revenue.  Since then most of our elected officials have worked with their management teams to make significant reductions in projected costs including a reduction in anticipated health care costs," Steward said.

"Our Health Insurance Plan which was re-bid in early 2011 has yielded significant savings.  Initially we anticipated an 11% increase in health care costs for 2013 which was reduced in the current budget proposal to 5% after consultation with our Actuary late in the year.   I was also able to increase revenue by $500,000 in the estate tax with information that was not available early in the budget process," Steward said.

Steward said the city closed the 2012 Fiscal Year with a cash balance of approximately $3.9 million.  She said during 2012 revenue exceeded estimates by $600,000 due in part to unanticipated Estate Tax Revenues and unexpended/unencumbered cash totaled $1.1 million contributing to the yearend cash balance.

"To balance the 2013 budget proposal the State Auditors have permitted us to use approximately $400,000 in year end cash for the 2013 Budget," Steward said. 

Stewart said the 2013 Budget proposal eliminates the Safety Deficit. She said this accomplishment was attained with the dedicated work and cooperation of Chief Sgambellone and Chief Harsch. Steward said the Safety Fund actual expenses for 2012 came in $800,000 less than budgeted. 

"Although the .5% Safety Income Tax provides critical supplemental revenues for community safety, the tax was never intended to fully fund safety costs but rather enhance them.  In looking back you will find the Safety Fund Deficit in 2009 was $1.8 million and grew to nearly $2 million by the end of 2010.  Through continuous cost reductions and some revenue enhancements contained within the Recovery Plan this deficit was reduced to $1.4 million by the end of 2011 and less than $400,00 by the end of 2012 which will not be carried forward in the proposed budget," Steward said. 

Steward said she submitted a legislation request to create a “Budget Stabilization Fund” also contained in the Recovery Plan.  She said the fund will allow the city to set aside limited funds each year toward a Reserve Target. 

"Although the target balance may take up to five years to achieve I believe this is a critical step toward our goal of Fiscal Sustainability.  The fund will of course be under the authorization and control of Council to mitigate economic disruptions, " Steward said.  

Steward said during the past year the city has utilized new funding plans for the Health Insurance Fund, and newly created Separation and Police Capital Equipment Funds.  She said in the coming year the city plans to expand the use of our Financial Management Software to provide more detailed financial information and will continue development of Financial Polices and initiatives such as Performance Based Budgeting.

Steward said the city is in a positive position due to the development of a sound Recovery Plan and following it.   She said as the city moves forward the goal should be to shift from a Financial Recovery Plan to a sound Financial Sustainability Plan.  .

   
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