Citizens For A Better Norwood

Monday, December 08, 2008

Auditor Jim Stith sees positives despite less projected 09 revenue

City Auditor Jim Stith projects Norwood’s revenues for 2009 will be $20.5 million, more than $700,000 less than this year’s estimated revenue and that of 2007. A tentative 2009 balanced budget that still requires City Council’s approval calls for no employee layoffs and no major cutbacks. Auditor Smith told Enquirer reporter Steve Kemme, “Month to month, we’re seeing a small percentage decrease in revenues…There are some areas where we tightened up in small ways… This budget will take our people through next year if they understand that's how much money they have to spend."

Although Norwood has been in a state of fiscal watch since 2004, it has become financially stable in recent years. However, with the departures of U.S. Playing Card’s 460 jobs and Medpace’s 350 jobs in the next few years, Norwood officials don’t want to slip back into financial trouble. "I don't see anything earth-shattering going wrong," Mayor Tom Williams said. "But caution is the word of the day."

The Enquirer reports that the city's 2007 revenue exceeded general fund expenditures by $2.4 million. Norwood's surplus stands at $3.4 million, which will enable the city to have an 11 percent carryover of its total budget from this year to next year. According to Auditor Stith, "The rule when you're writing a budget is that you should have a 5 percent carryover... Norwood made some expenditures last year that it won't have to make next year, such as certain loan payments and police cruiser purchases…If revenue projections hold true, the city could be taken off the state's fiscal watch list next year."

"Compared to Hamilton County and some other areas, we're doing pretty well," he said. "The reason is that we were so conservative in 2006 and 2007 with our spending. We reigned in our spending. I think we'll be OK if we continue to do that."