A total of $6.7 million in capital requests for 2020 in the city of Solon has been reduced to about $4.8 million as the budget process continues for city officials.
Finance Director Matthew Rubino explained that the first round of meetings has occurred with Mayor Edward H. Kraus, and department heads and requests are being reviewed and prioritized for the coming year. In addition, funding ability is being determined.
The initial requests have been prioritized, and the $4.8 million includes a $1 million project carried forward from 2019, which is a new Solon Senior Center parking lot.
In weighing the requests and reducing the numbers, an internal work group reviews projects and looks at the health and safety concerns associated with them. They also looked at what items were “critical” for next year, Mr. Rubino said.
“They are all important,” Mr. Rubino noted of the requests, “and we are fortunate that the requests we get are items that are needed to maintain service levels, not looking at (a lot of) brand new things.”
“A lot of our facility projects are being phased or shifted back into the plan,” Mr. Rubino said.
If funding ability changes for next year, those projects will be moved back into 2020, he added.
Solon funds its capital projects with cash, Mr. Rubino explained. There is a projected operating margin in the general fund.
“A majority of those resources are used to fund the general capital plan,” he said. “There is a significant linkage between the general operating budget and the ability to fund requests in the capital plan.”
The city has some ongoing funding sources in addition to the general fund, which includes a 0.5 mill service and safety property tax levy, which brings in $440,000 a year that is used for safety and service vehicles. They will also use $120,000 in cable franchise fee revenue for audio visual equipment upgrades at City Hall, Mr. Rubino said.
There also is some grant money from NOPEC in the amount of $190,000 that would be used for energy-efficient upgrades, the majority of which will be for LED upgrades.
Last year, the city used about $2.5 million from the general fund for general capital requests that amounted to $4.4 million.
A proposed capital plan has not yet been presented to City Council. There will be one more final review before being before city officials at 6 p.m. Nov. 13. Plans call for a follow up meeting at 5 p.m. Nov. 18 before submitting legislation for both the operating and capital budget. This will go through the three-reading process. Assuming approval by City Council at its Dec. 16 meeting, the overall budget will be forwarded to the county by the first week of January, city officials said.