By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
---- — During the past three years the cash balance for the city of Kokomo has increased by $7.8 million, or 63 percent.
City Controller Milton Beach said Tuesday during the opening round of the Kokomo Common Council’s budget review process that the city has been steadily increasing its cash balances.
The combined cash balance from several areas, including the general fund, has climbed from $12.3 million in 2010 to $20.1 million as of the end of August.
The cash balance for the Economic Development Income Tax fund has increased from $2.5 million to $2.9 million since 2010.
When Mayor Greg Goodnight took office in 2008, the city was facing a $4 million deficit.
Randy Morris, the former director of operations for Kokomo and now superintendent of the Parks & Recreation Department, said the proposed 2014 budget is balanced with the anticipated revenues.
“The budget may need some tweaking, but there is no need for major cuts,” he said.
Morris said the city is budgeting an increase of $1,000 for the health care costs of each employee, bringing the 2014 cost per person to $16,500, an increase of 6.5 percent.
The city’s overall budget is increasing by 1.16 percent, he said.
The proposed total budget for all city departments for 2014 is $59.5 million as compared to $58.8 million for this year. The general fund budget is increasing by 1.75 percent from $39.7 million to a proposed budget of $40.4 million.
The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance is allowing a 2.6 percent increase in local government spending for 2014.
Morris said the city is losing $6 million in revenues as a result of the property tax caps implemented by the Indiana General Assembly several years ago.
Included in the budget is $900,000 for resurfacing projects in the city through the Local Road and Street and Motor Vehicle Highway Funds and $175,000 for the city’s portion of the design and right-of-way acquisition for a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 31 as part of the Nickel Plate Trail extension.
The council will continue to review city departmental budgets beginning at 6 p.m. today at the administration building of Kokomo Schools Corporation.