Release Date: May 13,2020
Mayor Horrigan Announces Changes to Safety and Streets Budget & Capital Budget
Akron, Ohio, May 13, 2020 — Today, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has announced some initial reductions in the City’s 2020 operating and capital budgets, due to projected shortfalls in income tax revenue. These include changes to the 2020 Safety and Streets and capital improvement budgets.
“When our citizens are not working at normal levels, City revenue declines. However, even during a pandemic, the level of service we are expected to provide our citizens only increases—from police and fire protection, to providing clean drinking water and maintaining City parks and streets for public access,” Mayor Horrigan said. “But, like Akron’s people, our City workforce is resilient, creative, and dedicated, and I believe we will find ways to work through these challenges together. My priority is to try to keep our employees working and earning a paycheck, while providing the quality services our residents need the most.”
Since its passage in November 2017, the .25% Safety and Streets income tax (“Issue 4”), has brought in over $34 million in new funding to support Akron police, fire, and roads. These additional funds have supported the construction of two new fire stations, purchased new body cameras, vehicles and safety equipment, and re-opened the Akron Police Academy. And thanks in large part to this new, voter-supported revenue stream, more than 150 miles of Akron roadway were repaved during Mayor Horrigan’s first term.
However, in light of COVID-19, funds will be redistributed within this year’s Safety and Streets budget, given lower projections for incoming funding. The construction of Fire Station No. 12 in Northwest Akron—which was previously planned for early 2021—must be delayed for one year. Additionally, the City’s annual resurfacing program will be right-sized to match available revenue. The City will still maintain a $4.5 million program (nearly twice the annual budget in the years before Issue 4), enabling significant improvements in Akron’s roads. Upholding the promise to spend the funds only on Safety and Streets – Mayor Horrigan has redirected the funds entirely toward the operating expenses of the Akron Police and Fire Departments, including salaries for our first responders, who continue to place themselves in harm’s way every day.
The revised 2020 resurfacing list will focus primarily on main thoroughfares (arterial and collector streets) in each City ward. The revised list is available to review here, and a map will be available soon. Any streets that were removed from this year’s program will be prioritized in 2021. Additionally, Akron will benefit from state- and federally-funded resurfacing of major streets like West Market Street (Hawkins to Revere; Portage Path to Rt. 59), Waterloo Road (Manchester to Kelly), and South Hawkins Ave (Mull to Iona). Additional changes or delays have been proposed to projects within the City’s capital improvement budget—a revised version is available here.
“Times are hard across our community,” Mayor Horrigan said. “I proactively took an initial 10% reduction in my salary, along with every member of my cabinet, over a month ago. Many of these cabinet members are working incredibly long hours to ensure our community remains safe, healthy, and stable; and several have faced personal challenges and losses during this time. But we are all enduring this crisis together, and I will do everything in my power to ensure we recover together, as well.”
At this time, there are no announcements or decisions regarding City personnel. Initial budgetary decisions have focused on the timing of infrastructure projects and those events/services directly impacted by COVID-19.