COLUMBIANA Officials seek ways to eliminate deficit

The finance director said estate or income tax collections could help reduce the deficit.
COLUMBIANA -- City officials have until year's end to find ways to make up a deficit in the proposed 2003 budget.
City Finance Director Mary Louise Dicken said the general fund for next year has a $166,600 deficit.
Dicken said some of the loss can be attributed to the slumping economy and a drop in income tax revenue.
She said city council can't approve a deficit budget, so some adjustments must be made by the end of the year.
The council may have to consider some cuts, but Dicken said the deficit could be made up depending on unknown variables such as the income tax collection.
Dicken said area businesses are filing quarterly income tax reports, and when they do so again in October, that will give her more clues as to whether the income tax collections will help reduce the proposed deficit.
Dicken also said because a new formula will be in place for distribution of local government funds -- money from the state that is divided among the cities, villages and townships -- she doesn't know what the local government fund revenue will be.
Estate taxes vary
Revenue from estate taxes also varies greatly from year to year, she said. Last year $40,000 in estate taxes was collected, compared with $100,000 the previous year, she said.
Dicken said the police department's new, first union contract is also affecting the budget.
The 2001 police budget was about $719,000 for salaries and benefits and $93,310 for police pensions, compared with about $737,000 for salaries and $100,000 for pensions this year, Dicken said.
Proposed for 2003 is $771,000 for salaries and $123,400 for pensions, she said. Dicken said the latter figure includes a $10,000 lump sum to be paid to the pension fund when one patrolman returns from military leave.

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