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Solon Seeks To Simplify City Budget

Solon's financial officials are busy closing funds and simplifying the city budget.

Finance Committee Chairman Bill Mooney is entering his third year dealing with the city budget.

It's getting easier to understand, he said, but not easy enough. And Mooney has a financial background.

"I believe Solon finances are still too complicated," Mooney said Tuesday during the first of the year's budget hearings.

Efforts are already underway in reducing the complexity of Solon's budget, and those efforts are expected to continue this year.

Mooney said that Finance Director Dennis Kennedy is already working to make the budget more easy to understand by closing various funds and merging them with the general fund, which is the all-purpose account that Solon uses to run its department and general city business.

For example, the city has separate funds for a number of departments, including recreation, senior services and the Solon Center for the Arts.

Kennedy said those departments should simply have their money managed through the general fund.

"They are departments of the city," Kennedy. "We don’t set up special funds for police, or service, or finance or engineering.

"The general fund should provide a true snapshot of what takes to run the city," Kennedy added.

Kennedy said there are benefits to merging these funds beyond simplification. Since departments like recreation and the arts center bring in non-tax revenue through program fees, that increases the city's ability to offer economic incentives to lure and retain companies in Solon.

Mooney said the finance committee will discuss budget simplification in greater detail at the April committee meeting.

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