During the April 11th Dublin City Council meeting, Marsha Grisby, City Manager, reported on the health of Dublin’s balance sheet. Any private enterprise would be ecstatic by the report. For the first three months of 2011, Income Tax revenues were 7.39% over budget, Property Tax revenue was flat and Hotel/Motel Tax revenue was 7.9% over budget; all excellent signs from the top of the balance sheet. Further, the general fund balance is up to $42.468 million. Healthy, healthy, healthy! For a private enterprise, but is it too healthy for a public entity?
The US Government Finance Officers Association’s guideline for a municipality’s general fund balance is for 17% of annual expenditures. At $42.468 million, Dublin’s general fund balance sits at 80.8% of annual expenditures! Certainly a healthy rainy day fund is important to the overall financial health of the City. But a some point, Kevin Walter believes enough is enough. The goal of the City is not to accumulate wealth. The goal of the City is to utilize the resources of the community to serve the needs of the community as expressed through the ballot box, through public input and through citizen involvement. Maintaining such a large general fund balance leads to the potential of wasteful spending and mixed priorities. Dublin maintains a debt load of $59.6 million of that debt, $27.1 million is projected to be paid off through inome tax receipts. With the current general fund balance, the city could make significant strides to retire that debt and still maintain a very healthy general fund.
Kevin Walter believes that the City should act aggressively to pay down $27.1 million in debt, preserve a general fund balance and evaluate the longterm tax position of the City. Should innovative first-time buyer homeownership programs be introduced, should increased city services be offered, should more infrastructure be supported or simply, should taxes be lowered? Kevin Walter wants to hear you. Give him your thoughts. Let your ideas be heard by responding to our poll below.