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2012-13 City Budget Draft Discussed in Richmond Heights

City Council held a special meeting Monday night at City Hall.

Richmond Heights City Council discussed items in a 2012-13 draft budget during a meeting Monday night at .

The following is a look at the conversation as it happened. Tell us what issues you'd like to read more about by posting a comment to this article.

BUDGET MEETING

9:14 P.M.: Mayor James Beck encouraged the council to go through the budget at its own pace and ask questions of city staff as needed. A budget hearing will happen before the public during the council's second meeting in May. The meeting has ended.

9:11 P.M.: The city has set up a separate account to track spending for the . It is known as Fund 18. The city intends to put $100,000 toward those activities over the next couple of years, Hamilton said.

9:10 P.M.: District 4 Councilwoman Camille Greenwald asked whether the city continues to help the Richmond Heights Historical Society using grants.

Hamilton said that hasn't happened in years.

9:09 P.M.: Budget projections have gas prices averaging about $3.75 over the course of the year.

9:07 P.M.: The budget draft the council has received includes receipts through March. Some changes will occur in future versions, but the overall picture should remain the same, Hamilton said.

9:02 P.M.: In terms of revenue, the city is just returning to 2006 levels, Hamilton said.

"We've had to hold cost in other areas to account for the rises we have no control over" such as health insurance for city employees, she said.

When Hadley comes online, the city will see new revenue not included in current projections. But the city will need to bring in more revenue in order to balance out needed expenditures.

9 P.M.: The city had already projected openings of and another planned restaurant at the in its budget projections for the current fiscal year, Hamilton said.

8:58 P.M.: Future city budgets will not be balanced unless revenues increase, Hamilton said. The city will not have to dip into reserves this year.

"But this is a year-to-year issue" the city will need to continue monitoring, she said.

8:56 P.M.: Beyond those items and a few others, Hamilton said, the budget is balanced.

"It has no impact on resident services. It's all just internal tweaking and holding back on some purchases," she said. The city also has been holding back on hiring people to fill some empty positions.

The city is proposing a 3 percent merit increase for employees.

8:54 P.M.: Hamilton discussing estimated revenues for 2012: "Sales tax is coming in fine, but we were short in court fines and traffic fines, and short in building permits and property tax revenue."

On expenditures, she said, the city spent more on a solid waste contract than had projected and also spent $23,000 more on legal fees than budgeted.

8:51 P.M.: Hamilton said she will not present her complete budget report at this time because of the closed session earlier in the evening.

8:50 P.M.: City Manager Amy Hamilton is reviewing a few errors city staff identified in reviewing a draft copy of the city's 2012-13 budget. Those items will be updated in future versions.

CLOSED SESSION

8:49 P.M.: The closed session has ended.

7:45 P.M.: The council is meeting in closed session to discuss legal issues; the leasing, purchase or sale of real estate by a public governmental body; and documents related to a negotiated contract.

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