Aerial view of downtown Middletown looking west along Central Avenue. Middletown City Council are prioritizing how to use about $1.2 million in projected discretionary spending in the 2020 city budget. TY GREENLEES/STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees
Photo: Ty Greenlees

With more money expected, Middletown considering how to spend it in 2020

Council members held a work session at their July 16 meeting and learned the city officials are projecting $1.2 million in additional discretionary revenues available for 2020.

City Manager Doug Adkins and Finance Director Jake Burton provided information based on city finances as of June 30.

City staff recommended using the additional discretionary revenues for local funding of the downtown plan implementation/OKI funded project in 2022, deferred maintenance that includes possible replacement of the city garage, funding for a dedicated traffic officer and for fire station design/land purchase, city marketing and improved transportation in 2021.

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“Knowing that we’re doing pretty well, we wanted to get your input,” Adkins said.

Categories for 2020 discretionary funding include:

  • Paving, including sidewalks and medians
  • Recreation options
  • City beautification, including code enforcement
  • Improvement of neighborhoods and housing stock
  • Economic and workforce development

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Councilwoman Ami Vitori suggested looking at a “real” recreation center because “we have a serious lack of things for families to do.”

Council members were requested to submit their input to Adkins in the next week to tabulate for future discussion. The information will be used by city officials to develop the city’s 2020 budget that will be presented in October and voted on in November.

Adkins, who has completed his fifth year as city manager, said the 2020 budget already has several major big-ticket projects penciled in already that include:

  • Renovation of the University Boulevard bridge that will cost the city $2.1 million as there are no state or federal grants available
  • Final connection of the bike path to Franklin. The city will contribute about $167,000 to the $683,000 project with the balance funded through the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments. The city of Franklin received similar funding through the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission to complete its portion to connect the bike paths
  • City employee wages going up 8 percent due to an additional pay period. There are 27 bi-weekly pay periods in 2020
  • $2.6 million becoming available for paving due to an additional $1.1 million in auto/gas tax revenues and $1.5 million from other sources

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Adkins recently reported that the city’s income tax revenues have climbed for the last five years, and are on pace for a sixth consecutive year of growth. He said this is the “strongest, healthiest” the city has been financially in his 12 years.

The income tax revenues have jumped from $19.9 million in 2013 to $24.9 million in 2018. Burton said revenues are up $450,000 through June 2019 compared to June 2018.

City officials have not seen the projected downturn of income tax revenues in 2020 now that the $90 million school building/renovation project and the $650 million NTE Energy Middletown Energy Center - one-time construction projects - have been completed.

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