WILMINGTON — The reason for asking that county departments’ 2017 budget requests not be more than last year’s requests is an effort to be proactive in limiting budget expenditures, department heads were told Monday.
Even though presently the county’s cash reserves are “pretty robust,” its end-of-year carryover funds potentially could be “eaten up rather quickly” due to “two substantial hits” to the county’s revenue stream that are visible on the near horizon, Clinton County Commissioner Kerry Steed said.
Those two pending revenue decreases stem from a lower county sales tax rate this autumn, and the elimination of a portion of Medicaid sales tax revenue that will start next summer. As previously reported, starting in July 2017, the State of Ohio can no longer apply a sales tax to Medicaid managed-care organizations.
Following news this summer about the statewide Medicaid tax change, Clinton County Commissioner President Mike Curry said he didn’t know how long the county could stick with the pending county sales tax rate of 1 percent compared to the current 1.5 percent county sales tax rate.
The 0.5 percent additional county sales tax rolling off at the end of September generated about $2.8 million last year. And the reduction in Medicaid tax revenue reportedly will be about $840,000 a year for Clinton County, though state officials hope to lessen the financial impact to counties.
“That’s why we have these discussions — to be proactive. Not cutting [budget requests], but limiting of our budget expenditures, and I hope you would all agree with that regard,” Steed told the county elected officials and department heads who assembled Monday morning.
As in past years, the commissioners are asking county department officials, at least initially, to hold the line on their department’s salary line request.
Steed, who led the budget discussion Monday, said it’s important to first make sure the bills can get paid. Then, if there are additional funds at the end of the budget-planning season, that’s when commissioners look at how potentially to distribute those funds to county workers.
In other news:
• Commissioners proclaimed September as Feed Ohio Month in Clinton County. Last year, the volunteer effort was able to distribute about 4,500 pounds of non-perishable foods to food banks and food pantries in the area, according to Rees Watson, a local minister with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
If someone wishes to volunteer to be involved in collecting food items for Feed Ohio, they can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Feed Ohio, please visit the website feedohio.org.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.