Hamilton’s general fund to see ‘significant increase’ in 2022

Hamilton’s general fund will have a significant increase in spending during 2022 compared to this year, mainly because this year’s spending plan was ‘bare-bones,’ Finance Director Dave Jones recently told city council’s finance committee.

In 2021, “we were entering into the pandemic, and then the ‘21 budgets were bare-bones,” Jones reminded the elected officials.

Public safety spending, including police, firefighters, Butler County’s emergency 911 dispatching and costs “is 68.9 percent of the general fund,” Jones said.

“Salary and benefit expenditures across all departments are up $2 million,” he said. “The bulk of that is public safety.”

Public safety and health together have an increase of $1.4 million, Jones said.

The city’s 2022 general-fund spending plan is based on an estimate that income-tax revenues to the city will be the same as in 2021, at $30.5 million, which was 2.37 percent above 2020 levels.

ExploreHamilton continues to see rising income tax revenues

City Manager Joshua Smith said at an earlier meeting that with job growth in the city, “I truly believe this is a very conservative number,” Smith said.

The city is planning to employ the equivalent of 688 full-time positions, including when part-time and seasonal employees are counted in. For example, two half-time employees would equal one full-time equivalent.

That 688 is up from 676 this year, with some positions being filled that were vacant, and others added. Among the additions will be four CHIPs minority internships in human resources; one added accounting assistant in purchasing; the addition of a part-time fire prevention specialist; two added part-time assistant law directors; and one added planner and college intern in the planning department.

Explore‘It made me more confident’: New Hamilton minority internship program changing lives

Among positions removed from the 2022 budget are a development specialist; senior Geographic Information System specialist; concessions & tournament manager; and lapsing of an accounting specialist position when an employee retires in 2022.

Small income hit from people working at home

Jones said he doesn’t anticipate the city losing significant amounts of income taxes because many people have been working from home instead of their usual offices.

“I don’t see that being a huge hit on Hamilton,” he said. “Actually, we’ve even been having some folks call, where we’ve got folks working at home in Hamilton, and they’ve been calling and setting up accounts.

“I don’t want to go out on a limb and say it’s going to be a big win, big loss, but I don’t see much of an impact,” Jones said.

“You always hear Joshua talk about how as income tax goes, the city goes,” Jones told the committee. “Since 2012, income taxes were on the rise. They’re actually up 40 percent since that time. So fund balances like this, with income tax, are on the rise.”

Real-estate taxes also were up, by $320,000, he said.

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