Wurst: Shortfall in fund not worrisome

With recyclables earning less than in past years and expenses climbing, the city of Wapakoneta’s Recycling Fund is expected to have a small deficit, according to early budget estimates.
Wapakoneta City Council 3rd Ward Councilor Bonnie Wurst, who is to assume the chairmanship of the Finance Committee in 2012, says she is not worried because additional money from the Refuse Fund will be transferred into the account to make sure the fund is balanced.
“I am not worried about the Recycling Fund because there should be no new or unexpected major expense so it is just a matter of maintaining what we have,” Wurst said after Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting. “I also am hoping that the price of recyclables continues to rebound and to rise, and I hope the residents of the city continue to recycle as much so we can remain at the same level or more so we can realize more in the sale of recyclables.”
According to budget numbers provided by Safety-Service Director Bill Rains, total revenue into the fund totaled $179,500, with expenses expected to be $189,450 — creating a shortfall of $9,950. Personnel account for $106,550 of the expenses.
To make up the difference, a transfer from the Refuse Fund to the Recycling Fund may have to be increased from $100,000, which is what was budgeted in 2011 and 2012 to $125,000. Wurst explained the amount from the Refuse Fund would be increased to cover any additional expenses.
She said the Refuse Fund has always subsidized the Recycling Fund and the final amount is determined late in the budget process and supplementals during the year would cover any shortfall.
In regard to revenues, the 2011 and 2012 budget estimated $40,000 for the sale of recyclables, which is plastic, metal and paper and cardboard through the Auglaize County Solid Waste District. Actual sales for recyclables in 2011 is approximately $36,400, cutting into the bottom line.
The Recycling Fund also is expected to sell approximately $13,000 in compost facility material. In 2011, the number fell short with only approximately $10,500 sold.
With declining revenue, Wapakoneta City Council and Finance Committee members and city administrators may want to review charges and fees to close the gap.
“Committee members will be reviewing these budget numbers again in the next month or so to see if any line items need to be adjusted when end-of-the-year numbers are in,” city Auditor Gail Walter said in reference to the Recycling Fund budget. “Council and administrators also can look at charges that fund the account, but not every charge has to go before council — some can be set by the administration.”
One charge is the amount for a recyclable bin. The current charge is $6 and estimated revenue from the sale of bins is $1,000, but the city paid $10,000 in 2011 for a new shipment of bins.
This cost covered bins for multiple years for sale.
Finance Committee members also discussed a Utilities Committee proposal to expand recycling opportunities in the city by placing containers at Veterans Memorial Park and downtown as well as purchasing a 24-hour recycling trailer for dropoffs.
This is to help increase the amount of recyclables to be collected to help with the reduced rate received for recycled materials.
The next Finance Committee meeting is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Jan. 5 at the Wapakoneta City Administration Building.