The City of Dublin’s financial condition remains strong, having consistently achieved the highest bond ratings available from both Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service. The City has maintained a AAA rating from Fitch Ratings since 2001 and a Aaa rating from Moody’s since 2004. These high ratings recognize Dublin as a low risk community and allow the City to secure the lowest interest rates available when issuing bonds, ultimately resulting in significant savings. Both agencies have cited the City’s diverse and expanding tax base, local demographics, sound management practices, and ability to maintain significant cash balances while accommodating growing needs, as credit factors that resulted in the high credit ratings.
Dublin is typical of Ohio municipalities in that income tax is the City’s most significant revenue source. Although the fiscal reality is currently that of a laggard national economy, the City has enjoyed a slow but consistent growth in its tax base. In light of the City’s reliance upon income tax revenues as its most significant funding source, non-residential development has been and will continue to be critical to Dublin’s financial stability. The City has maintained a stable mix of residential and non-residential development over the years, which contributes to Dublin’s strong, diversified tax base. In2012, the total dollar volume of all construction was nearly $122.8 million, with commercial activity comprising nearly 52 percent of the total.
The City of Dublin Annual Report provides a current summary of the major revenue sources for the city. These revenues are used to fund primary government functions, debt service obligations and capital improvements. The City levies a two percent income tax on income earned within the City. For 2012, income tax revenue totaled $ 75.4 million or 67.6 percent of the City’s revenue. The City’s per capita income tax for 2012 was approximately $1,794. Other smaller, yet significant revenue sources include charges for services (9.6 percent of total revenues), service payments (6.5 percent), intergovernmental revenues (3.9 percent), property taxes (3.0 percent) and licenses, fines and permits (2.8 percent).
Income tax revenues, the City’s most significant revenue source, increased by approximately 5.4 percent on a cash basis from 2011 to 2012. General operations are funded by 75 percent of the income taxes collected, with the remaining 25 percent being used for capital improvements. Since 1990, the average annual rate of growth in income tax revenues has been approximately 8.5 percent. These consistent increases in income tax revenue are the result of continued growth and expansion of existing Dublin businesses and the relocation of new businesses to the City.
Charges for services reflect the fees levied for various services and activities provided by the City. Most of these fees are generated from recreational programming (such as user fees from the Dublin Community Recreation Center) and capacity charges from the public water and sewer systems. Fees for these services are based on the actual cost to provide the service and are updated annually.
Service payments are payments in lieu of property taxes received from Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts. Dublin has successfully used this financing technique to generate funding for public infrastructure improvements necessary to provide access to undeveloped sites or to improve existing infrastructure to accommodate new development. A TIF works by locking in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation was approved. Payments derived from the increased assessed value of any improvement to real property beyond that amount are directed towards a separate fund to finance the construction of public infrastructure defined within the TIF legislation. To date, 33 TIF districts have been established, resulting in approximately $593 million in commercial building activity and $101 million in public infrastructure improvements. In 2012, Dublin received nearly $7.3 million in service payments to reimburse the city for public infrastructure improvements. Intergovernmental revenue includes the City’s share of local government funds, estate tax, motor vehicle license tax and grants for capital projects.
The City of Dublin Annual Report provides a current summary of the major expenditures for the city. Total expenditures in 2012 totaled $107.7 million. General operations accounted for 36.9 percent of total expenditures. General operations include administration, finance, legal services, legislative activities, maintenance of facilities and maintenance of vehicles and equipment. Capital outlay represented 28.0 percent of total city expenditures in 2012. Debt service was the next highest government expenditure at 11.0 percent, followed by public safety and recreation programs at 9.6 and 6.8 percent, respectively.
Capital Improvements Program
Dublin’s capital infrastructure expenditures continue to remain one of the most significant uses of its resources. As a result of its strong financial position, Dublin has had the ability to make expenditures necessary to keep pace with the city’s growth and development. While development opportunities remain within the city, resources have been allocated for not only new development but also for maintenance of the infrastructure which was put in place over the past few decades. In 2012, the capital expenditures per household were approximately $2,000.
Dublin’s investment in its capital infrastructure is planned and programmed through the city’s Five-Year Capital Improvements Program (CIP). The CIP also defines the financial guidelines that provide assurance that the city can meet, in a full and timely manner, both the capital and operating obligations competing for the available resources. The city revises and Council adopts the five-year program annually. The 2013-2017 CIP reflects programming for $147.4 million in public improvements, including transportation, facilities, parks, recreation and utilities projects.
A key financial guideline in the CIP is the use of annual excess revenue, specifically income tax revenue, to fund capital infrastructure. Since adopting the first CIP in 1991, Dublin has invested the excess (or unprogrammed) revenue in capital infrastructure to the extent that income tax revenue growth exceeds projections in any given year. Even with excess revenues being invested in capital infrastructure, the General Fund balance, which is a critical component to the financial stability of the City, has exceeded 50 percent of the General Fund expenditures each year since 1999. This level of reserves can be used to offset short-term deficits that may occur and to provide the necessary funding for unanticipated needs or opportunities.