Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Local News

December 11, 2012

Kokomo finances continue to improve

Total debt has dropped by $14.5M

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight has unveiled his latest spreadsheet on the city’s financial position, with the numbers showing a $14.5 million drop in total indebtedness since he took office five years ago.

During the same period, the city has seen an almost exactly corresponding increase in its cash position as cuts to the city’s payroll, flat budgets and the emerging post-recession economy have combined to replenish depleted city coffers.

Randy Morris, Kokomo city controller, said efficiency measures, combined with increased use of in-house labor for projects, have helped. Morris credited the Kokomo Common Council for supporting the mayor’s belt-tightening initiatives.

“The council has just been very supportive of our efforts,” Morris said. “Through these recessionary times, they’ve given us the ability to make the necessary changes.”

Shortly after former Kokomo Mayor Matt McKillip took office in 2004, an accounting error and a new state limit on local property taxes caused a sharp drop in city revenues.

The artificial limit on revenues was soon corrected, but the one-year drop created a deficit which the city didn’t climb out of until Goodnight’s first year.

To gauge how the city has been doing, Goodnight looks at the city’s cash position each Nov. 30.

That date represents an annual low point in the city’s cash flow, a time just before the city receives its second biannual installment of property tax revenue, commonly referred to as a tax “draw.” Local governments usually receive tax draws in late spring/early summer and again near the end of the year.

On Nov. 30, 2007, the city was nearly $5.2 million in the red in the funds controlled by the Kokomo Common Council. To keep the city operating, the city had to borrow from other funds and pay those funds back when the tax draw finally arrived.

Five years later, on the same date, the city was running a $9.8 million balance in the same council-controlled funds, the largest of which, the city’s general fund, is used to pay the salaries and benefits for city employees.

An increase in tax revenues, including back taxes owed by key industries, have helped stabilize the city’s finances. And there haven’t been any wild variations in revenues since the recession-marred year of 2009, when property tax collections fell by almost $5 million.

But city officials also point to decreases in the number of full-time city employees, and efficiency measures like picking up trash on one side of the street (which requires fewer trash trucks and less manpower).

From a maximum of 521 full-time employees in 2007 to about 436 currently, the city, according to Morris and Goodnight, is doing more with less.

The city also is freed from the obligation of paying about $700,000 a year in debt service for the Kokomo Aquatic Center, which was paid off in 2010. The city council saved another $1 million annually by shutting down the former Kokomo Early Learning Center.

Today, the city has no general obligation debt and no outstanding leases. All of the city’s remaining debt is tied to the city’s wastewater treatment plant, which was fully renovated over the past two decades.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Mac talent show 01 lf Maconaquah students, alumni take the stage for 50th annual variety show

    BUNKER HILL - When students from Bunker Hill and Clay Township schools suddenly found themselves walking the same halls in the new Maconaquah High School, they needed something to rally around as they formed their new school identity. That's when Pow

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • NWS - KT041714 - Bunker Hill child neglect arrests - CLG - pic1 Miami Co. couple face charges of neglect after children found malnourished BUNKER HILL - Two Bunker Hill children have been placed in foster care after officials discovered they were living in a dilapidated house with no heat or running water and were exposed to dangerous amounts of lead. In relation to the case, police Mon

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Maconaquah School Corp. to add new preschool program PERU -- In an effort to meet the needs of Miami County's young children, Maconaquah School Corp. is set to expand its preschool programs next school year. The school district is starting a "Little Braves Academy" preschool program, in addition to its

    April 17, 2014

  • $3.27M grant will boost technical training at Ivy Tech Kokomo Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region just received a $3.27 million boost from the federal government to expand programs dedicated to preparing high school students for careers in industrial technology. Ivy Tech's Integrated Technology Education P

    April 17, 2014

  • NWS KT 041714 pic traveling diplomat Kokomo senior Craig Simon to be traveling diplomat The chance to travel the globe, earn college credits and get paid sounds too good to be true, but it's about to be reality for Kokomo High School senior Craig Simon. The Kokomo School Corp. board of education approved a recommendation Monday to make

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Plea deal filed in Kokomo murder-for-hire plot A Kokomo woman accused of plotting to kill her daughter's boyfriend pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Tuesday as part of a proposed plea deal. Police arrested Christy Shaffer, 41, in September on a conspiracy to commit murder charge after she alleged

    April 17, 2014

  • Tabitha Mitkus Heroin found in hotel room bust Kokomo police seized heroin, pills, cocaine and stolen property in an early morning, motel room bust. Tabitha B. Mitkus, 24, 2000 block of Pontiac Court, was arrested at Garden Inn, 4021 S. Lafountain St., after hotel staff reported suspicious activi

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • North split restrictions on Monday The Indiana Department of Transportation will restrict traffic at the single-lane ramp that connects U.S. 31 to southbound Ind. 931 on the north side of Kokomo — weather permitting — on Monday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Remedial repairs along the 200-

    April 16, 2014

  • BK rebuild 04 Peru restaurant B-K West rebuilding after tornado

    PERU -- B-K West is more than just a drive-in restaurant to its owner, J.D. Hann. It's a piece of his childhood, a historic Peru landmark, and it's his baby. "I grew up with this place," the 57-year-old Peru native said. "We used to walk the tracks o

    April 16, 2014 7 Photos

  • Congresswoman Susan Brooks backs manufacturing training efforts Congresswoman Susan Brooks' own personal manufacturing experience may have been limited to three months in a Kendallville caramel factory as a college student, but in her congressional roles, she's having an impact on the skills debate. In Kokomo Tue

    April 16, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston Egypt Clamps Down on Mosques to Control Message After Fukushima, Japan Eyes Solar Power New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries