City council commits money to capital improvements

(Posted May 19, 2014)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

London City Council has made a commitment to rebuild its capital fund, money earmarked for improvements to roads, sidewalks, equipment and the like.

On May 15, council voted unanimously to apply at least 10 percent of net revenues from its 1 percent income tax to the capital fund. The other 90 percent will go into the general fund for operating expenses. The 90/10 split does not apply to the additional 0.5 percent income tax passed last year for the fire department.

Since the nation’s economic downturn in 2008, the city’s capital fund has suffered. To try to keep up with operating expenses, city officials stopped setting aside money for capital projects and directed all revenues into the general fund.

“Now that the economy is trying to come back, we want to build our capital back up,” said council President Pat Closser. “This is a way to put money into the capital fund to try to get future projects completed and try to keep up with the infrastructure.”

Councilman Rodney Lauer commented, “We needed a commitment to some sort of capital revenue stream. This is a good level to go with” to get started.

The 90/10 ordinance was introduced to council in February. Council delayed a vote on the proposal in order to give it more thought, said Closser.

“We wanted to really look at the numbers to see how feasible it would be. It’s something we didn’t want to rush into. We wanted to give council time to do their homework on the issue.”

The 90/10 split will go into effect with the city’s 2015 budget. The budget planning process should start within the next two to three months, Closser said. Council will ask department heads to present possibilities for capital improvements, along with their operating needs.

Councilman Trint Hatt sponsored the 90/10 legislation.

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