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Hampton/Shaler

Hampton ends 2018 better than expected financially

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A year-end financial summary for 2018 was presented by the Hampton Township Controller Jerry Speakman at the Jan. 23 council meeting, and it showed a better-than-expected outcome.

Overall, the revenues for 2018 exceeded expenses by $80,925, according to Speakman.

Year-end revenues were $91,000 higher than they estimated at the end of last year and expenses were $16,000 less than estimated. Hence, it resulted in the higher revenues for 2018.

“The year ended more favorably than expected,” said Speakman.

During the 2019 budget development process, staff and council actually estimated a deficit of $28,159, he said.

A major reason being the township purchased $100,000 in additional salt supply for the 2019 calendar year in 2018, according to Speakman. This action was taken in order to better balance the 2019 budget, said Township Manager Chris Lochner.

By taking this action it was then anticipated that the 2018 budget would be over, or expenditures exceeding revenues, by approximately $40,000, said Lochner.

“In that this did not occur and revenues actually ended up exceeding expenditures by approximately $81,000, it was a pleasant surprise,” said Lochner.

A few of the highlights Speakman mentioned in his year-end review on the revenue side include real estate taxes exceeded budget by $37,748; and real estate deed transfer taxes also unexpectedly exceeded the budget by more than $211,000.

However, earned income tax revenue was $44,190 below the estimate and $180,190 below the budget.

Speakman said this was a big surprise despite the “robust 2018 economy.” But with a mix of residents whose income is derived from limited liability companies, or LLCs, this is not subject to earned income tax.

“It’s a frustrating unknown to budget around,” said Speakman.

Sewage fee revenues were also below budget, and the lowest in a decade, despite 30-plus new home construction and sales each year. This has been a continual decline, said Speakman. However, revenues from Richland Township residents, who are also serviced, has seen a steady increase.

Also noted was that fitness memberships revenues were $36,458 below budget. However, youth and adult basketball programs did “exceptionally well,” putting it $8,174 over budget, he said.

In summary, revenues for 2018 exceeded the budget by $83,871 and exceeded the estimate by $91,271.

On the expense side of the 2018 year-end review, Speakman highlighted many factors as well. This includes that salaries and benefits exceeded budget by $54,939 but were $15,000 less than they estimated. While multiple factors contributed to this, one is being overtime for the Department of Community Services was $45,000 over budget as a result of increased call outs for rain and snow storms, said Speakman.

Other expenses include that contracted services were more than $97,000 below budget, which was estimated at $83,832 below budget. This includes $90,985 above budget for legal fees, but $12,000 less than they estimated.

Other contracted items include vehicle maintenance, police protection and traffic safety, and department of community services roads and park expenses were all below budget, among other things.

Also, Capital Outlay was $29,404 over budget for the year. This is due to $49,566 in costs for renovations to the police building to house the new Shaler-Hampton Emergency Medical Services, according to Speakman.

However, Speakman pointed out that overall “expenses would have been below budget if the advance purchase of road salt had not been approved.”

Council president Mike Peters thanked Speakman and Lochner for diligently working on the budget.

“Council and staff take their fiduciary responsibility very seriously and we were very pleased with the outcome. We are committed to manage our community in a fiscally responsible manner while providing the residents with the services they deserve,” said Peters.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.