STOW: City council approved the city’s $28.4 million operating budget for 2013 in a 4-3 vote at a special meeting on Wednesday.
The operating budget was approved on its reading before council. It was reviewed previously at the March 14 council meeting.
Currently, Stow is operating with a budget deficit that is projected to be about $264,000.
Last year, the city’s budget planned for a $693,000 deficit, and it wound up being $133,000.
Councilman Mike Rasor, Matt Riehl and Brian Lowdermilk voted "no."
In an email statement Rasor said he was concerned about the budget deficit.
“The mayor acknowledges that she plans for a budget deficit of $264,000,” Rasor said. “Then there is a fund transfer of $275,000 from the Group Health Plan Fund. The capital fund is also being reduced by $875,000. Essentially, money is being moved around from one fund to another, to make it look like the deficit is less than it really is.”
Rasor also suggested that the city should trim back on operational spending and consider selling Fox Den.
Rasor stated that each year, the city pays the mortgage payment on Fox Den out of the roads fund.
“If we sell Fox Den, we immediately recapture $375,000 in annual road improvements,” Rasor said. “As I stated last year, we need to put ourselves on a five-year plan to wean ourselves off our current spending levels. This pattern of outspending our annual revenue simply isn't sustainable for much longer. “
Next week, Rasor plans to propose a new piece of legislation: the Transparency and Green Savings Act. Rasor said the key features of the legislation are: making city council's operation mostly paperless, creating an online Government Transparency Portal that would allow residents and media to have easy access to public documents, and cutting office supply costs.