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Monroe News
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Posted - 03/09/2011 :  10:01:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

At the end of 2010, the City of Monroe had a fund balance of over $5 Million, by 2014 the finance committed is projecting a fund balance of $106K. Source: Monroe Finance Committee Report



5 year forecast.pdf

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Bretland
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Posted - 03/09/2011 :  11:26:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

There's been a lot of coverage in the news lately about the impact of union contracts on State and City budgets.
I wonder where Monroe stands on this issue and how the funding of retirement and healthcare for the City union employees looks going forward.

We know the Suncoke lawsuit and matching funds for Government funded projects takes quite a bit of available dollars. But the growth in staff by
all City departments is a potential issue that may need to be addressed somewhere in the near future.

Senate Bill 5 will provide the opportunity to address compensation issues and their impact on the budget - if they exist.

PS: the projection runs through 2014. That's after all their (Council) current terms have expired. I suspect that all of the members will rerun for Council, but if they don't it's safer to project a balance for the year(s) after you're long gone and no longer accountible................
How about 2015 and 2016 - negative by then???????????????

"There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those that don't."
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Happy HarperValley Rez
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Posted - 03/09/2011 :  11:47:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

These figures must be wrong!! After we toss the 2mil to the beautification of our exit ramp - we will be over run with new business within no time!!! Someone forgot to put the projections for the new growth which WILL COME cause we ARE gonna build it!!!
Right Council??
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bobpreston
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Posted - 03/09/2011 :  12:22:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Then the city will come to you crying how it wasnt their fault and you cant look back just give them more money and raise taxes to 2% and the sheep will line up and vote yes. The lawyers fighting a losing battle with suncoke are happy for your ignorance.
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Happy HarperValley Rez
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Posted - 03/09/2011 :  12:50:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

You are not really sharp when it comes to sarcasm huh Bob?

quote:
[i]Originally posted by bobpreston[/i]
[br]Then the city will come to you crying how it wasnt their fault and you cant look back just give them more money and raise taxes to 2% and the sheep will line up and vote yes. The lawyers fighting a losing battle with suncoke are happy for your ignorance.

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John Beagle
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Posted - 03/09/2011 :  5:41:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Good point, once we get our $2M gateway to Monroeland, the sun will come out, businesses will be fighting to take part of Monroe's enormous growth potential. That's got to be good for revenues.

quote:
[i]Originally posted by Happy HarperValley Rez[/i]
[br]These figures must be wrong!! After we toss the 2mil to the beautification of our exit ramp - we will be over run with new business within no time!!! Someone forgot to put the projections for the new growth which WILL COME cause we ARE gonna build it!!!
Right Council??


"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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John Beagle
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Posted - 03/09/2011 :  5:42:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

All kidding aside, an income tax increase isn't out of the question. We could easily go anothr 1/4 point.

quote:
[i]Originally posted by bobpreston[/i]
[br]Then the city will come to you crying how it wasnt their fault and you cant look back just give them more money and raise taxes to 2% and the sheep will line up and vote yes. The lawyers fighting a losing battle with suncoke are happy for your ignorance.


"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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cmsquare
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Posted - 03/09/2011 :  8:41:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

I think we should follow the middletown model. It's clearly worked out well for them.
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Bretland
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Posted - 03/09/2011 :  10:39:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Is there concern that Monroe will have another fiscal emergency? Will we be kept informed of the City financial situation from year to year or is that another topic that's not allowed to be discussed in public?
Why the drastic decline from 2009 to 2014? Is it reduced revenue or increased spending? Are the entitlement costs eating at the reserves? Have poor decisions been made on how the money is spent?

The graph shows the picture but does not tell the story.

"There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those that don't."
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Bob Kelley
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Posted - 03/09/2011 :  11:03:43 PM  Show Profile  Send Bob Kelley an AOL message  Send Bob Kelley a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Here are all your answers Bob. The top home listed has line of sight to SunCoke, you know, your neighborhood. The bottom house is located within 3 miles. Both homes are comparable in design, sq.ft and lot size. BTW Bob, the graph is not part of what was released in the report, that was designed by the poster for the shock value.

Tax yr Land Value Building Value Total Appraised Value Land (35%) Building (35%) 35% Total Assessed CAUV
2010 $40,080 $61,820 $101,900 $14,030 $21,640 $35,670 $0
2009 $40,080 $61,820 $101,900 $14,030 $21,640 $35,670 $0
2008 $40,080 $71,860 $111,940 $14,030 $25,150 $39,180 $0
2007 $33,640 $104,340 $137,980 $11,770 $36,520 $48,290 $0
2006 $33,640 $104,340 $137,980 $11,770 $36,520 $48,290 $0
2005 $33,640 $104,340 $137,980 $11,770 $36,520 $48,290 $0


Tax yr Land Value Building Value Total Appraised Value Land (35%) Building (35%) 35% Total Assessed CAUV
2010 $41,500 $88,690 $130,190 $14,530 $31,040 $45,570 $0
2009 $41,500 $88,690 $130,190 $14,530 $31,040 $45,570 $0
2008 $41,500 $91,970 $133,470 $14,530 $32,190 $46,720 $0
2007 $44,330 $77,780 $122,110 $15,520 $27,220 $42,740 $0
2006 $44,330 $77,780 $122,110 $15,520 $27,220 $42,740 $0
2005 $44,330 $77,780 $122,110 $15,520 $27,220 $42,740 $0

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Suzi Rubin
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  12:23:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit Suzi Rubin's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Bretland, I don't think we're headed for fiscal emergency. We are just trying to be proactive so that doesn't happen. Since coming out of fiscal emergency, we have been trying to build a fund balance as a "rainy day" fund and to hopefully be able to make major purchases (like fire trucks, etc.) with cash instead of bonds or leases.

We have weathered the recession fairly well. Although our property values have decreased, income tax has increased due to new and expanded businesses in town. We have been trying to build a fund of between 4-5M so that we have some cushion and will not have to panic when unforeseen things happen (like now).

The fundamental problem here is that the state is likely to cut our funding. We don't want to wait until there is an emergency to figure out how to survive. Even with the recession, we added 429,000 to our fund balance last year and ended up 63,000 underwater this year. Not bad in my opinion, especially when others are in panic mode.

Over the next four years, we are projected to have deficits (in round numbers) of 670,000, 1,200,000, 1,400,000, 1,600,000. The actual total is almost 5 million over the 4 years.

Although the governor has not submitted his budget yet, we have been told to prepare for a loss of 50% of the local government fund this budget and a complete elimination of the fund after that. The local government fund was set up when the state income tax was enacted and a portion was promised to the localities so that they would be reimbursed for taxes paid in their district.

In addition, the tangible personal property tax that was supposed to be replaced by the CAT tax has not turned out to be anywhere close to even. They are phasing out reimbursements to local governments on the money that has been lost to the personal property tax.

We also have been getting reimbursements from the state for the utility deregulation to replace taxes lost there. This is also being phased out.

And last, but not least, is the estate tax. 80% of those taxes are returned to the home jurisdiction. Although this varies year to year, the average for the last five years has been $400,000 per year.

The total losses expected from these four items alone are about $3.1 million. We are also planning for some loss in property value due to the economy, but increasing income tax.

The state is reducing your state income tax by 2%. This is part of the budget problem at the state level. Simply, the state is reducing their revenues and reducing support given to cities, townships, school districts (the schools will probably lose 20% of their state funding as well). This means that there will be an abundance of levies for police, fire, schools, cities, etc. in the next few years to replace the lost revenue.

Sadly, for townships and schools the only method they have to raise revenues is property tax. We have been shifting the burden from the income tax to the property owners for decades now. I still believe we need a better balance of income, sales and property tax to be fair.

We are looking at ways to balance the budget before it becomes a critical issue. Anyone who has a creative idea for revenue, we're all ears. I'm proud of the services that the city provides and would personally hate to move backward in that area, but we will likely have to scale back some.

What is your preference... loss of services, or to put some of your 2% income tax savings back into the community? If the latter, would you prefer an income tax, property tax or something else?

The income tax has the advantage of not hitting seniors or people who pay city taxes where they work. We also collect income tax from people who work in Monroe (but may not live here). The last figure I have is that 75% of the income tax comes from people who do not live in Monroe - I'm not sure if there are updated numbers, but I would assume with the mall that number has gone up. The income tax also grows as the city grows, but affects our residents a bit unevenly. Currently, our rate is 1.5%. Most of the municipalities in the area are between 1.5-2%.

The property tax is another possibility. I'm not sure of comparisons with other communities for our total property tax load.

The financial situation is not being hidden, nor should it. We are just beginning to sort out what the new state budget will mean for Monroe. We won't have final numbers until probably June or July from the state. If we need to put something on the ballot, we will have to act in August so we need to know what our options are even before we get the final cuts.

I think most people can understand that when you lose a big chunk of your revenue there will have to be changes. I feel it's much better to begin talking about it before a crisis comes. This also allows the community to be part of crafting the solution. It's called planning... and I think planning is a good thing.
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John Beagle
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  09:44:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Sometimes It takes a graph to get a grasp of the spread sheet numbers. The graph was of the numbers supplied by the report. It's based on the facts your citizen financial committee supplied. Here is a link to the report: http://www.mainstreetmonroe.com/pdf/5%20year%20forecast.pdf

Check the numbers. Did I make up this graph out of thin air? I used the numbers suppled by your experts?

If the graph shocks you, then you should consider where you intend to cut to fix our financial situation. I hear nothing from you except rhetoric (eg: Shock Value Graph). How about telling us what you intend to do about this financial disaster we are heading into?

By the way, if you factor in our additional SunCoke expenses (I estimated) we end up with a negative General Fund Balance in 2014. Do you know what will happen if you send the state of Ohio your forecast with a negative general fund balance? I do.


quote:
[i]Originally posted by Bob Kelley[/i]
[br] BTW Bob, the graph is not part of what was released in the report, that was designed by the poster for the shock value.



"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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John Beagle
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  10:24:10 AM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

I added together Total Expenses, Use of Funds to get Total Expenses, Uses of Funds and Other Expenditures.



"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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Doc
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  10:46:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

The numbers to use for Police, Fire, Streets, etc. are the "Transfers Out" line from the General fund worksheet. Those numbers add up to those distributions from the General Fund.

Those would be:
2007: $3,704,781
2008: $4,405,379
2009: $4,858,000
2010: $5,900,328
2011(forecast): $5,820,855
2012(forecast): $6,430,119
2013(forecast): $6,569,287
2014(forecast): $6,858,075
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John Beagle
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  10:53:09 AM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

I have provided the link several times now:
http://www.mainstreetmonroe.com/pdf/5%20year%20forecast.pdf

Add them up. Expenses and Revenues should match if you are on budget.

"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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Suzi Rubin
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  10:57:51 AM  Show Profile  Visit Suzi Rubin's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Here is a simple chart:



The transfers go up in part due to loss of property tax revenue in the levy funds and partly due to growth.
You can see that our Local Government Fund (LGF) drops by close to $1m the first year of the projection. How long does it take to eat through a $5m fund balance when you lose $1m revenue per year? About 5 years. The rest is due to regular growth in expenses.
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Dannyboy
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  11:12:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Using Suzi's chart, it gets worse every year. 2014 represents an imbalance of ~$1.6M, while the drop off from 2010 to 2011 is only ~700k.

From 2011 - 2014:

- Revenues increase 4%
- GF expenses increase 7%
- Transfers out increase by 15%

Yikes. Cutting the things involved in the transfers out doesn't seem like a good idea. Police, fire and streets are why you have a town in the first place. You can only cut so much. The loss of property tax revenue from the housing crisis hits hard.
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Bob Kelley
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  11:49:23 AM  Show Profile  Send Bob Kelley an AOL message  Send Bob Kelley a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

John I have typed about four different responses and it finally occurred to me that we absolutely deserve to be crucified for presenting this information without knowing the answers to the questions.
Reference your email:
"Does anyone have an opinion on SB5?
Should we not look into the financial ramifications of the passage of SB5?
John"
I refused to answer that as I told you because nobody knows whats going to happen. I allowed this to happen because I did not protest it at the meeting, it was presented without notice and was not accepted or rejected by the council as a formal report and I should have made a motion to have it declared speculative and incomplete and I didn't. Do what you have to do I guess, I knew it would be a mistake to comment on this, refused to comment on this myself and then allowed it to happen with my name attached to it.


quote:
Originally posted by John Beagle

Sometimes It takes a graph to get a grasp of the spread sheet numbers. The graph was of the numbers supplied by the report. It's based on the facts your citizen financial committee supplied. Here is a link to the report: http://www.mainstreetmonroe.com/pdf/5%20year%20forecast.pdf

Check the numbers. Did I make up this graph out of thin air? I used the numbers suppled by your experts?

If the graph shocks you, then you should consider where you intend to cut to fix our financial situation. I hear nothing from you except rhetoric (eg: Shock Value Graph). How about telling us what you intend to do about this financial disaster we are heading into?

By the way, if you factor in our additional SunCoke expenses (I estimated) we end up with a negative General Fund Balance in 2014. Do you know what will happen if you send the state of Ohio your forecast with a negative general fund balance? I do.


quote:
[i]Originally posted by Bob Kelley[/i]
[br] BTW Bob, the graph is not part of what was released in the report, that was designed by the poster for the shock value.





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Suzi Rubin
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  11:51:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit Suzi Rubin's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by John Beagle[/i]
[br]Add your police and fire to your expenses. Same chart but you're is more politically soothing.

For example: Add GF Expenses of $2.8M to Transfers out of $6.2M, you get $9M which is the same as revenue.

Basic Accounting

Total Revenue - Total Expenses = Bottom Line

If you have to pay for it, its and expense. Police, fire, streets are just as much an expense as GF expenses.




Here you go. But I really need to leave now. There is still something seriously wrong with your chart, John. What is going on in 2014? Revenues and expenses do match if the budget is balanced. But it's not, so they won't. It looks close in 2010 because we had a $63,000 shortfall - too small to register on a chart.

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John Beagle
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  11:57:46 AM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Fair enough. And yes, you probably should have declared it speculative. But with so little information coming out of council, I have only this little breadcrumb to go on.

Here is a question I am waiting for a response on from our Finance Director, Kacey Waggaman and Bill Brock:

Question about Total Expenditures line on the first page. Does this include payments to our attorney’s for our lawsuit against SunCoke? If so, can I get that broken out.

Originally sent yesterday at 3:00 pm, sending again now.

quote:
[i]Originally posted by Bob Kelley[/i]
[br]John I have typed about four different responses and it finally occurred to me that we absolutely deserve to be crucified for presenting this information without knowing the answers to the questions.
Reference your email:
"Does anyone have an opinion on SB5?
Should we not look into the financial ramifications of the passage of SB5?
John"
I refused to answer that as I told you because nobody knows whats going to happen. I allowed this to happen because I did not protest it at the meeting, it was presented without notice and was not accepted or rejected by the council as a formal report and I should have made a motion to have it declared speculative and incomplete and I didn't. Do what you have to do I guess, I knew it would be a mistake to comment on this, refused to comment on this myself and then allowed it to happen with my name attached to it.


quote:
Originally posted by John Beagle

Sometimes It takes a graph to get a grasp of the spread sheet numbers. The graph was of the numbers supplied by the report. It's based on the facts your citizen financial committee supplied. Here is a link to the report: http://www.mainstreetmonroe.com/pdf/5%20year%20forecast.pdf

Check the numbers. Did I make up this graph out of thin air? I used the numbers suppled by your experts?

If the graph shocks you, then you should consider where you intend to cut to fix our financial situation. I hear nothing from you except rhetoric (eg: Shock Value Graph). How about telling us what you intend to do about this financial disaster we are heading into?

By the way, if you factor in our additional SunCoke expenses (I estimated) we end up with a negative General Fund Balance in 2014. Do you know what will happen if you send the state of Ohio your forecast with a negative general fund balance? I do.


quote:
[i]Originally posted by Bob Kelley[/i]
[br] BTW Bob, the graph is not part of what was released in the report, that was designed by the poster for the shock value.







"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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Dannyboy
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  12:20:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Shouldn't there be a published report that spells out every expense paid on a line by line basis? I assume that data exists, or I sure as heck hope it does. You can't run a budget without detailed expense tracking. My company tracks every dollar spent, when it was spent, by whom and why. I could pull a spreadsheet of it in 30 seconds if I wanted. For a public entity, this information should be on the website for everyone to see.
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Doc
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  1:14:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by John Beagle[/i]
[br]But with so little information coming out of council, I have only this little breadcrumb to go on.

Yes. Staggeringly little.
http://www.monroeohio.org/financial-reports/item/431-cafr

All of the information for 2007 through 2009 is there, has been there, will continue to be there, and has always been available for your consumption.

It's like an entire ocean full of breadcrumbs.

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cmsquare
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  1:22:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

much easier to creating misleading graphs for shock value and pretend the info isn't there plus it's way more fun.

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buckeyenut
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  1:35:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by Dannyboy[/i]
[br]Shouldn't there be a published report that spells out every expense paid on a line by line basis? I assume that data exists, or I sure as heck hope it does. You can't run a budget without detailed expense tracking. My company tracks every dollar spent, when it was spent, by whom and why. I could pull a spreadsheet of it in 30 seconds if I wanted. For a public entity, this information should be on the website for everyone to see.



That is an excellent question. Let's ask the Finance Director. I also want to know what amount of the General Fund budget is being expensed for the new library (but it may be too soon to know).

And thanks to Suzi for putting this discussion at the top of her priority list because she sees the need to have the correct numbers published in cyberspace.

The problem with accounting is it all depends on what color rug you want to decorate with that particular day. Creativity is also how car dealers make loads of money and you think you just got a great deal on that new Silverado.
----

Rubin for State Rep in 2012!
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John Beagle
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  2:19:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

You are right! All graphs updated. Thanks Suzi.

quote:
[i]Originally posted by Suzi Rubin[/i]
[br][quote][i]Originally posted by John Beagle[/i]
[br]

Update: I see your problem with 2014. You forgot the negative in front of the number that incorrectly references the "net profit" line I addressed above.


"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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buckeyenut
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  4:27:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

The Humane Society showed a fund balance of over $200 million in '08. Perhaps its easier to manage animals than a city.
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Doc
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  4:28:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by buckeyenut[/i]
[br]The Humane Society showed a fund balance of over $200 million in '08. Perhaps its easier to manage animals than a city.

The retirement plan is COMPLETELY different.
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John Beagle
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  7:00:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

All assumptions were based on the information contained in the Monroe Finance Committee Report as presented to council this week. There are 2 fire levy funds and a police fund. I know there are other funds, but this is all the information that was provided.

Is the committee reviewing the other fire funds not mentioned in their most recent report? Perhaps the next report will include all funds. Either way, I'm looking forward to finding out more about our financial forecast. I think it would be good for readers and posters of The Voice to have the information and graphs so everyone can see the process. And with our posts, we will be able to go back and quickly review previous forecasts.

If we all understand the reality, we all will have more informed opinions. That is the goal. Information is power, man.

quote:
[i]Originally posted by Suzi Rubin[/i]
[br]Somehow you copied the revenues again to the expense line (except for 2014 - don't know where that came from). Where are you getting the police and fire numbers? We are talking about the General Fund budget. If you have the police and fire levy sheets, those are paid for with levies and the general fund covers the balance needed to operate the departments. I don't know if you are adding in expenses from the levy sheets but not the revenues.... I'll look again when I get back.


"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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Bob Kelley
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  7:10:14 PM  Show Profile  Send Bob Kelley an AOL message  Send Bob Kelley a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

I would not expect to get anything other than a properly approved report from here on out.
quote:
Originally posted by John Beagle

All assumptions were based on the information contained in the Monroe Finance Committee Report as presented to council this week. There are 2 fire levy funds and a police fund. I know there are other funds, but this is all the information that was provided.

Is the committee reviewing the other fire funds not mentioned in their most recent report? Perhaps the next report will include all funds. Either way, I'm looking forward to finding out more about our financial forecast. I think it would be good for readers and posters of The Voice to have the information and graphs so everyone can see the process. And with our posts, we will be able to go back and quickly review previous forecasts.

If we all understand the reality, we all will have more informed opinions. That is the goal. Information is power, man.

quote:
[i]Originally posted by Suzi Rubin[/i]
[br]Somehow you copied the revenues again to the expense line (except for 2014 - don't know where that came from). Where are you getting the police and fire numbers? We are talking about the General Fund budget. If you have the police and fire levy sheets, those are paid for with levies and the general fund covers the balance needed to operate the departments. I don't know if you are adding in expenses from the levy sheets but not the revenues.... I'll look again when I get back.




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Doc
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  7:46:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

There was absolutely nothing wrong with what was presented. It clearly identified 2011 thru 2014 as forecasted. It's someone's understanding of what the meaning of the word "forecast" is as well as basic understanding of a simplified city budget that was in err.
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webski
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  7:58:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Doc, I can forecast my checkbook from here till I die but how does the city forecast any spending when the question of death taxes are in jeopardy? So the city will lose money if the law changes and then what happens to that forecast? I am not a big fan of forecasting because that means I will get the short end of the government straw. Don't spend money that you do not have. It is a simple rule but works with most taxpayers.

quote:
[i]Originally posted by Doc[/i]
[br]There was absolutely nothing wrong with what was presented. It clearly identified 2011 thru 2014 as forecasted. It's someone's understanding of what the meaning of the word "forecast" is as well as basic understanding of a simplified city budget that was in err.



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Doc
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  8:07:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by webski[/i]
[br]Doc, I can forecast my checkbook from here till I die but how does the city forecast any spending when the question of death taxes are in jeopardy? So the city will lose money if the law changes and then what happens to that forecast?
I think in terms of the General Fund, those monies are never budgeted in...BUT, to the spirit of your question, I don't think I'd be too out of line to say that we'll take a significant overall hit if the local government fund contributions go away as well as the abolishment of the Estate Tax.
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Suzi Rubin
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Posted - 03/10/2011 :  10:10:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit Suzi Rubin's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by webski[/i]
[br]Doc, I can forecast my checkbook from here till I die but how does the city forecast any spending when the question of death taxes are in jeopardy? So the city will lose money if the law changes and then what happens to that forecast? I am not a big fan of forecasting because that means I will get the short end of the government straw. Don't spend money that you do not have. It is a simple rule but works with most taxpayers.



The forecasts are for planning purposes. We must look at what to do if the state funding cuts come to pass. The estate tax is not budgeted because it varies greatly from year to year. It is included in the 2010 Actual column because it reflects what actually came in. If the estate tax were to survive, the financial picture for the city would be better that what is stated above.

Since the state is considering cutting our funding greatly, it helps to adjust our forecast to reflect that. The reason for doing forecasts is to see problems ahead to avoid a crisis. If we waited until 2013 to realize that we had a problem, the solution would be much more expensive because we had not been making allowances for the loss of income or trying to raise revenue to avoid the problems. This is a very useful planning tool even though everything may not turn out the way it is forecast. That is also why we need to maintain a fund balance so that we don't get caught short if something unforeseen happens (like losing $1m in state funding per year).
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Dannyboy
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Posted - 03/11/2011 :  08:18:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Assuming the state slashes funding to local governments (which the state pretty much has to do in order to balance its own budget), doesn't a local tax increase of some sort become almost necessary?
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John Beagle
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Posted - 03/11/2011 :  09:17:18 AM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

I have broken out the levy's discussed on the forecast.


As you can quickly see, the 2005 Fire Levy isn't generating significant funds.

"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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Bretland
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Posted - 03/11/2011 :  09:50:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

"Assuming the state slashes funding to local governments (which the state pretty much has to do in order to balance its own budget), doesn't a local tax increase of some sort become almost necessary?"

Why didn't the State just increase taxes? Because taxpayers want less government and lower taxes. Passing it along to Counties and Cities solves nothing.
Local Counties and Cities are now going to have to address costs just like the State did. The issue of compensation and benefits to unionized and non-union employees will need to be addressed.

It's easy to put a tax levy on the ballot and hope it passes. The tough part is IF it doesn't pass. Then, can our elected officials make the tough decisions that need to be made?
Or will they run off to Indiana so they don't have to vote ..................:)

"There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those that don't."
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Doc
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Posted - 03/11/2011 :  10:06:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

No, no. I think you've got that backwards Bob. I certainly think that those hard decisions need to be made before even considering putting anything on the ballot. JMO.
Plus...running off to Indiana or Kentucky isn't really an option. Gas is WAY too high for that.

The point of releasing the fiscal committee report is to start the process of taking a long hard look at the numbers with a rational eye. I think we've got plenty of time to start formulating some sort of solutions to a problem that *might* occur in 3 years. My guess is that if the economy continues to improve, the real numbers might just look much better than forecast that we see here.
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Bretland
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Posted - 03/11/2011 :  10:21:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Doc,

I didn't get it backwards. I don't think the Council can make the tough decisions that will need to be made if the budget trend continues. There WILL be a levy on the ballot. THEN, if it fails, the tough decisions will be made. That's just my humble prediction.

One can only hope that the economy improves. High State, County and Federal debt and the high cost of gas are things they need to get under control.
Planning is good as long as you look at all options. I'm sure you'll have staffing on the top of your list. You can't save a lot getting rid of pencils and paper and turning the heat or A/C down...

Running off to Indiana was just a "smart a$$" remark in reference to Wisconsin law makers......:) Gas is never too high if someone is dodging a responsibility...

"There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those that don't."
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Suzi Rubin
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Posted - 03/11/2011 :  10:50:16 AM  Show Profile  Visit Suzi Rubin's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

UPDATE 3/11/11 3:40pm
Since posts have been randomly deleted and updated, this entry no longer makes any sense as the data in the chart I reference below has been replaced by a corrected one. Please don't assume that I'm seeing things - it made sense when I posted it.

In reality, you're now seeing things that weren't there and not seeing things that were... My frustration would be more understandable if the multiple other attempts to get this corrected were still on the thread.
- Suzi



John, I cleared my cache in case I am still seeing the old charts (with the exception of the change in 2014). That didn't work.

I rubbed my eyes in disbelief and then looked again.
That didn't work either.

So, here it is AGAIN:

Your chart:


The numbers you are using for "Other Expenditures" are from the line in the forecast that says "Excess of Revenues and Other Financing Sources Over (Under) Expenditures and Other Financing Uses". This line is essentially the same as the "Net Profit (Loss)" line you would see in business. This line represents REVENUE MINUS EXPENSES. By using this line as an expense, you are basically adding back in the deficit. The total expenses are found by adding the two lines you have above "Other Expenditures."

Here is a really big clue: Except for small instances like receiving a credit for a purchase YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE NEGATIVE NUMBERS IN AN EXPENSE LINE! Apologies for the shout, but it's an important concept. That line does not belong in your calculations. It is the total of Revenues minus Expenses.

According to your spreadsheet, our Revenues exactly EQUAL our Expenditures for the duration of the forecast.

So, in the World According to John(tm) - we don't have a financial issue at all. Problem solved. Thanks John. Our work is done. Sorry for the interruption...




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John Beagle
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Posted - 03/11/2011 :  11:14:46 AM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Ok, upon re-review, I have made the corrections and updated all the charts again. Clearly now we can see that Expenses exceed revenues and that makes since because our fund balance drops just as that begins.



Also I want to thank you for driving home the point that council needs to interact with the community, especially when the community doesn't have its facts right. By communicating to the community, everyone benefits. By remaining silent, we just don't know for sure. Thanks Suzi for clearing this up. I look forward to your explanation on why we are continuing spending on the lawsuit. I know you can't talk now, but when you are ready, I'm all ears.

Hope you don't mind me using your head banging sign. Feel the same way about SunCoke, The Chamber and of course business links.

"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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Dannyboy
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Posted - 03/11/2011 :  11:23:02 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by Bretland[/i]
[br]"Assuming the state slashes funding to local governments (which the state pretty much has to do in order to balance its own budget), doesn't a local tax increase of some sort become almost necessary?"

Why didn't the State just increase taxes? Because taxpayers want less government and lower taxes. Passing it along to Counties and Cities solves nothing.
Local Counties and Cities are now going to have to address costs just like the State did. The issue of compensation and benefits to unionized and non-union employees will need to be addressed.

It's easy to put a tax levy on the ballot and hope it passes. The tough part is IF it doesn't pass. Then, can our elected officials make the tough decisions that need to be made?


I agree that these issues should be handled locally. Of all the taxes on earth, IMO local taxes are the "best." The people can keep an eye on the money easier locally, and many local taxes are voted on by the people. That way, the people get to decide what kind of community they want. If the people want an animal shelter or a library or a program for old folks, they can vote for it. If not, they don't have one. Direct democracy has a lot of advantages.
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