Hubbard city officials could be looking to cut as much as $1 million from its budget in 2010, according to city auditor Michael Villano, and some of that could come through worker layoffs.
Villano said at the Jan. 4 council meeting that layoffs have not been ruled out as a possible way to close the gap.
''I think with the condition we're in, it's nearly inevitable,'' he said when asked about the possibility of staffing cuts.
The city's budget in 2009 was about $17.5 million, and Villano said the city would try to cut between $750,000 to $1 million in 2010.
According to figures from treasurer Marsha Ruha, the city's income tax collection went down by about 10 percent in the last two years, although Villano said that decrease could be greater based on tax collections older than two years. The city collected about $2.1 million on its 1.5 percent income tax in 2007, only to see that number decrease to about $1.8 million in 2009. Ruha attributed this to layoffs and to the fact that retired people do not pay into the city's tax.
But the problems were not just due to the income tax, he said. The problem involves not only the city's general fund but also enterprise funds such as the water department and the city's health insurance fund.
Service Director Lanier Epperson said water rates in the city will go up an average of $9.62 per month after a rate increase begins in February.
Epperson, in his report to City Council, stated that the new rate will be $3.20 per 100 cubic feet of water with a base rate of $16.10, which is up from $2.44 per 100 cubic feet and a base rate of $11.80.
''I realize the burden that will be placed on the consumer. The facts are that revenue has decreased and expenditures have increased along with the necessary expenditures required to maintain the system,'' Epperson said in a prepared statement.
The service director said a plan to put through a rate hike has been in the works for at least a year, before he took office as the new city service director. He explained putting the plan on hold by saying he wanted to let the increase wait while he reviewed the hike to see whether it was necessary. He said the city's 20-year contract with Aqua Ohio states that the agreement has scheduled rate increases built in. He added the system is in need of maintenance such as a new water tower, water transmission lines and a valve replacement program.
Epperson said the city has not had a water rate increase since May 1998.