This has been “a banner year” for income tax receipts for Hamilton, with those revenues up 4.2 percent, city Finance Director Dave Jones recently told members of the city council’s finance committee.
That follows an 2.9 percent gain in 2018, Jones said.
The city’s 2020 budget will increase Hamilton’s emphasis on public safety, with three more police officers to be hired using a federal opioid-fighting grant, and improving the condition of the city’s 17 neighborhoods, Jones told the elected officials.
Jones said the $28.5 million in projected income tax revenue will be “an all-time-high year.”
He has conservatively estimated that next year’s income tax receipts will be 0.39 percent lower although, “I don’t expect that to happen. I fully expect to at least beat ‘19,” he said.
The city has several companies that have been steadily growing, and others that have moved in. Those include ThyssenKrupp Bilstein, which makes highly adjustable shock-absorbers for vehicles, Kirsch CPA, which moved from Fairfield and has been growing; Fort Hamilton Hospital.
In the proposed 2020 budget, the city is to spend about 69.5 percent of its general fund on safety services, including $16.4 million on police, $13.6 million on fire, $2.1 million on municipal court and $1.17 million on its share of the county’s emergency 911 dispatching. Others that have been growing or are moving in are ODW Logistics, 80 Acres, Infinite Acres and several restaurants and bars.
The neighborhoods department will cost $348,000, but the great majority of that cost is already paid by the city, because only full-time, paid employee, earning $40,000, wasn’t already with the city.
Jones said with the police to be hired using the opioid grant, the city will have hired 17 public-safety employees since 2016, including seven police school resource officers who are reimbursed 75 of their salaries by the school district, and who work outside of the schools during the summer. The city has hired seven firefighters in the 2016-17 period and has maintained that level.
The proposed 2020 budget will “second consecutive structurally balanced general fund budget,” Jones said, meaning the general fund — the fund that finances police, firefighters and most other general city operations (not including utilities and special funds) — is projected to generate more money than it will spend, and will not need to borrow from city reserves.
“That is very important to me, and that ties into the healthy fund balance,” Jones said.
With the proposed Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill expected to open in late 2021, officials expect other companies to move in, including another hotel and more restaurants.
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