City of Ashland

The back entrance to Ashland City's municipal building.

ASHLAND — The city of Ashland is “right where we need to be” in terms of adopting a 2022 budget, said Larry Paxton, the city’s finance director.

The prognosis comes after council unanimously approved legislation Monday night that allows the finance director to pay bills for another three months.

Cities must approve and submit appropriations for the year ahead by April 1, Paxton said.

“We’d like to get it approved earlier in (2022) if at all possible,” Paxton said.

The reason for that, said Mayor Matt Miller, is because the city wants to move forward with several projects in 2022.

“Traditionally, we don’t bid out any of those projects before we had our final budget in place,” Miller said. “And with all the contractors busy already, plus more federal and state funds available for communities, we need to get in the lineup so we can get our projects complete in 2022.”

Council also approved legislation related to its budget that allows Paxton to disburse income tax revenue to other city operating funds rather than hold it.

Paxton said the city’s income tax collection has come in “a little bit” higher than the expected $15,250,000.

“Right now, we’re $500,000 to $600,000 ahead of schedule between last year’s collection and this year,” Paxton said. “That’s good, but at this point, it’s not over till it’s over. I’m hesitant to get excited too quickly.”

The finance director said two outcomes are still possible: income tax collection could fall off or it could double.

“If companies want to prepay ahead, they could do that if it’s been a good year for them. But people could also stop paying because of the holiday — both are understandable,” he said.

Support Our Journalism

Our reporting empowers people to individually and collectively achieve progress in our region. Help make free, local, independent journalism sustainable by becoming a Source Member.