Council eyes $36.5M budget for 2017


By Jason Hawk - jhawk@civitasmedia.com



Mayor Mark Costilow outlines a budget that shrinks appropriations from near $39 million last year to $36.5 million this year.


Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

A $2.5 million rollback in the 2017 budget isn’t a sign that Amherst has fallen on hard times, mayor Mark Costilow says.

Rather, it signals his comfort in managing the ins-and-outs of the city’s business.

“I think having my first year under my belt, I’ve seen where we need to spend money,” he told council Monday, running down a list of adjustments he believes will save cash this fiscal year.

Amherst carried over nearly $1.1 million in unspent funds from last year.

So Costilow and auditor David Kukucka are calling for a $36.5 million permanent budget — which must be passed by March — that uses about five percent less of the city’s estimated resources for the year than in 2016.

The city started the new year on a temporary budget approved in November. Kukucka said most of the budget is pretty well set by Jan. 1 and major changes now on the table address salaries, overtime, and benefits.

Questioned by councilman Joe Miller, the mayor highlighted extra money budgeted this year for:

• A new car for the building inspector’s use.

• Maintenance to the San Springs building on Park Avenue, which houses the utilities, income tax, auditor, and building departments.

• Creation of a new technology position at city hall.

• An expansive computer network upgrade to link computers at various city offices.

• Possible sewer repairs on Lincoln Street and Sipple Avenue.

The budget notably does not include more money for upkeep of Rt. 2. The Ohio Department of Transportation in 2015 demanded Amherst pay a six-figure increase for maintenance of the highway within the city limits.

However, has Costilow said the city long ago signed a contract to pay the state just a few thousand dollars annually. It has no expiration date and he sees no need to pay more.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

Mayor Mark Costilow outlines a budget that shrinks appropriations from near $39 million last year to $36.5 million this year.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2017/02/web1_costilow.jpgMayor Mark Costilow outlines a budget that shrinks appropriations from near $39 million last year to $36.5 million this year.

Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

By Jason Hawk

jhawk@civitasmedia.com