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Shaker's 2013 Budget Discussion Continues Tonight

City Council will review a new version of the budget, while Police Chief D. Scott Lee will discuss why the city wants to cancel fireworks and install red-light cameras throughout the city.

Shaker Heights will hold its second work session for the 2013 budget at 7 p.m. at city hall.

Finance Director Bob Baker expects to field questions from City Council about a slightly tweaked version of the budget, compared to the one presented on Nov. 19. Baker said the first version featured multiple "double counting" instances where funds were expected to be transferred and then reimbursed by the general fund. Corrections are expected to reduce overall figures.

However, other transfers will be necessary to cover the self-insurance, debt service, demolitions and pension funds, Mayor Earl Leiken said.

The initial 2013 general fund budget was $41 million, Sun News reported. The $2.4 million deficit projected for the end of this year was reduced to about $820,000 following the last budgetary work session. Both Baker and Mayor Earl Leiken expect a balanced budget next year.

"Thanks to our residents and their support of the tax increase, we do have a balanced budget for 2013," Leiken. "We are going to finish (next) year with a surplus in excess of council's goal of 15 percent of reserves.

"The expenses are being tightly managed."

According to the Sun News report, about $215,000 has been collected since the city's 0.5 percent income tax increase went into effect in October.

Operating expenses are expected to increase by 1.8 percent, due to factors including increased medical expenses, fuel and vacant property upkeep, Leiken said.

Residents are invited to the meeting to discuss the administration's recommendation to cancel city Fourth of July fireworks next year, as well as implementing red-light and speeding cameras throughout the city.

Fireworks cost about $25,000, but could be canceled because of safety concerns. At this year's celebration, Shaker Heights police arrested eight juveniles and adults for fighting. None of the arrested individuals were city residents.

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