2018 budget shows breathing room

By Jason Hawk - jhawk@aimmediamidwest.com

A $40.26 million budget is in the wings for Amherst for 2018.

City council is expected to adopt the permanent budget on March 12, just ahead of the deadline to have it to the Lorain County auditor’s office.

Typically, the city operates on a temporary budget during the first quarter of the year. That gives time for the mayor and auditor to hammer out strategic changes in accounts.

For example, in the past couple of months mayor Mark Costilow has worked with police chief Joseph Kucirek to find money for two additional full-time officers and one full-time dispatcher. Kucirek also wants to add a civilian supervisor position to oversee dispatchers.

Another major change for 2018: Amherst is changing the way it allocates income tax fund cash for street work, changing the formula. The new split will leave about $500,000 more to tackle extra summer paving jobs.

Costilow told the News-Times that income tax revenue is up and city accounts are healthy, so now is the time to invest in infrastructure.

The mayor told council his proposed budget is “pretty aggressive” but balanced.

One thing it’s not is flat.

The 2017 final budget weighed in at $36.63 million, about $3.6 million lower than the draft currently on the table. The budget was $31.42 million in 2016 and $30.65 million in 2015.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk