Some cutting is needed before the city of Union can approve its next budget.

Union aldermen recently got a look at the proposed 2019-20 fiscal year budget. Finance Officer Heather Keith reported early numbers which show the budget is running in the red by about $600,000.

Budget overages are normal at this point in the budgeting process, City Administrator Russell Rost said. The city’s fiscal year doesn’t start until July 1 so the city has time to make some cuts.

Keith said all the funds balance with the exception of the parks department. Rost pointed out that it’s normal for the parks budget to not balance.

“Every year we have to subsidize parks,” he said.

The city department heads will now review their requests and finetune the numbers. Last year, the city trimmed its budget, but still spent $250,000 in reserve funds to make everything balance. 

Budget Highlights

While some numbers will change, Keith highlighted some projects that could be funded.

For the street department, $1,015,428 is proposed for capital improvements. Those funds will be used for the Christina Avenue, Memorial Parkway and Birch Creek bridge projects as well as a Springfield Avenue project.

Thanks to federal and Franklin County grants, the city will be reimbursed $550,775, meaning the total costs of the four projects for the city totals $464,653.

The street department also is seeking $310,704 for two new trucks, a new tractor loader and other equipment. The city is planning to purchase some new Christmas decorations. The plan is to purchase 41 snowflakes similar to those hung up last year.

A total of $500,100 is allocated for road maintenance projects. The total expenses for the street department are listed at $1,826,232.

The police department is looking to purchase three new vehicles for a total of $129,000. The department also is looking to buy 10 new tasers for $2,910 and a lie detector machine for $5,995.

The budget also includes $13,276 to convert one of the lobby bathrooms into a storage room for electronic equipment. The remaining bathroom would become unisex.

The engineering department is requesting $25,000 for a vehicle for an inspector. The budget includes $8,320 for new circular tables for the city auditorium.

The idea is that the city no longer has to rent them for the annual Valentine’s Day show and customers who rent the auditorium can request circular tables.

A total of $2,015,831 is allocated in the general fund.

The water department is expected to spend $454,546 for various projects. The biggest line item is $155,000 for a building addition at 715 Clearview.

City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said the city also is requesting $70,000 for a project to connect the east and west water lines. He said the city doesn’t plan to complete the connection because then it would have to chlorinate its water based on state regulations.

However, in the event of an emergency, he wants to have the connection nearly complete so the hookup can be easily made.

The sewer fund has expense of $509,064, according to the budget. The biggest expense is $118,000 for new gravity sewers.

For the parks department, $111,250 is being allocated in the proposed budget. The parks department is requesting $27,000 for a new roof for the pool building, $25,000 for a new pavilion at Veterans Memorial Park and $18,000 for an overlay of the Clark-Vitt trail and parking lot.

Keith told aldermen the budget would be review and revised before the next meeting. An update will be given to the board at the April personnel, finance and public works committee meeting.