Despite concerns about inflation, the City of Berea’s budget for 2022 ended the fiscal year with a cash balance of almost $4.7 million – the highest in history and nearly five times larger than when I first took office.
The balance is over $300,000 greater than last year and is not inflated because of stimulus money from the federal government. Stimulus funds are in a separate account.
All- in-all, the appropriations budget finished the year with a grand total of $17.8 million spent in the General Fund. That’s the fund that pays for the everyday operations of the City. Our total appropriations for the year were $70.8 million.
My administration worked closely with City Council to keep the numbers under control. We still are worried about inflation and the high cost of everything. Your cost of living has increased and so has the City’s. In some cases, we are paying three times more for items than we did one year ago.
We have been very careful with your tax dollars. As a result:
· Our bond rating (credit score) remains A+.
· For the sixth consecutive year, we have not gone to the bond market to borrow money.
· We paid down almost $1.9 million in debt.
· We have a hefty cash balance in the general fund.
· We haven’t increased taxes or water/sewer rates in 15 years.
· Our employees averaged 3 percent pay increases and we had no layoffs.
All City departments did a great job of scaling back expenses and our revenue was a tad higher than we expected.
The result is a very healthy end-of-the-year financial report and a great beginning for 2023. I will present the fiscal year 2023 budget to Council shortly. It must be approved by March 31. We will again prove to be responsible stewards of our City, maintaining services at a high level while keeping a close watch on the purse strings.