This is the back entrance to the Ashland City Council facility at 206 Claremont Ave.

ASHLAND — Ashland City Council adopted the city’s tax budget for 2024, a preliminary step before its official adoption of appropriations that comes later this year.

Nevertheless, the budget is a necessary step toward determining how the city will appropriate funds in 2024, said Larry Paxton, the city’s finance director.

“Once you folks adopt the budget it will go then to the county budget commission for their review and consideration,” Paxton said, addressing council. “Once it is approved by that body, then you will receive an ordinance back adopting the outside and inside millage that the county auditor will be collecting on our behalf for the property values inside the city.”

Paxton said the figures in the 2024 tax budget are based on cash reserves he estimates the city will have at the end of this year and anticipated revenue and expenditures.

The estimated tax budget, therefore, heading into 2024 stands at $74,584,609.30.

“I have no idea how I came up with 30 cents,” he said.

Though approval of the 2024 tax budget does not encumber or appropriate funds, Paxton called it an “important exercise.”

Councilman Dennis Miller, a retired banker, said the tax budget looks solid — but highlighted what he thought to be too-high bank fees.

Fees and charges from local banks are determined through negotiations in what are known as depository agreements made every five years, Paxton said.

“There’s a bid process we follow,” he said, adding the next agreement will be determined in three years.

Fees, therefore, stand to be around $140,000 to $145,000, Miller projected, based on the fact 2024’s tax budget is a smidge larger than previous years. The councilman said the city paid $143,000 in fees in 2021 and $136,000 in 2022.

“On a $75 million budget, percentage wise, that’s not that significant,” Miller said. “But my point is we need to make sure we’re shopping that service to get the most competitive fee we can get.”

Paxton agreed and said fees are just the cost of doing business and providing services to the citizens.

He said appropriations will begin at the beginning of 2024.

Lead reporter for Ashland Source who happens to own more bikes than pairs of jeans. His coverage focuses on city and county government, and everything in between. He lives in Mansfield with his wife and...

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