The city’s budget has been balanced but not without dipping into the savings account by about $200,000. I have respect for the city and county elected officials when it comes to sitting in on both budget hearings and listening to the decisions they must make in order to balance their budgets.
The county budget hearings were conducted by having the departments appear before the county commissioners to present each individual budget. The departments asked for new equipment and extra staff so they could do their jobs more efficiently. There was one department that was asking for an employee to devote 100% of the employee’s time to foreclosures because the person can only devote 25% to the job due to other job duties. The county cannot afford to lose the battle of collecting $10 million in back property taxes owed to various entities that are in need of the extra revenue.
The city is no different when it comes to collecting money. There are unregistered rentals that the city is unaware of that need to be addressed. When the rentals go unregistered, they are not being inspected. If the city isn’t able to monitor the properties, the properties will most likely fall into despair. A lot more rentals need to be tracked for registration, so the city can get a better understanding just how many rentals are in the city. Maybe, the city needs to double the registration fees when an unregistered rental is discovered by the city, so landlords are encouraged to register their rentals earlier rather than later.
Next, the city should closely monitor the projects and facilities that are causing the city to lose money. As reported in the paper, between the recreation department and the Sandusky Transit, the city has lost a total of $421,000 from the general fund trying to balance the individual budgets. Can you imagine what the city could do with the $421,000 had the revenue not been lost?
One commissioner stated that the city has bottomed out; I think the taxpayers have bottomed out as well. The city is complaining that it doesn’t have enough money but $421,000 is allowed to be counted as a loss. Before the taxpayers pass any kind of tax increase, there needs to be better management of the existing tax dollars.