Clinton County adopts $15.5 million budget

By Gary Huffenberger -

WILMINGTON — Clinton County commissioners on Wednesday approved a 2020 General Fund budget of $15.5 million.

That compares to the county’s General Fund operating budget of $14.8 million approved last December.

The roughly $700,000 increase in appropriations is workable thanks to a re-instated 0.5 percent local sales tax that went back into effect on Oct. 1.

Some of the additional spending is for bringing about increased compliance with building and zoning regulations, said commissioners.

“We’ve all agreed it’s time to clean up the county,” Clinton County Commissioner Kerry R. Steed said.

He also said it’s time commissioners start to look for ways to invest some of the additional revenue funds by directing dollars toward additional services to taxpayers in the community, with regard to safety and other types of services.

Clinton County Commissioner Mike McCarty said there’s been a lot of development, and the board of commissioners is wanting to go after zoning issues.

Cleaning up the county involves compliance, said Steed. And to bring about compliance, there have to be the necessary resources in the county prosecutor’s office and in the county’s Building & Zoning Department.

Direction and dollars have been given to those offices to hire individuals to fill those functions, he added.

In the adopted 2020 budget, each county government department will receive 4 percent more in appropriations for its salary line. However, it is the county department heads who determine exactly how to disburse those extra compensation dollars to their staffers.

Clinton County Commissioners President Brenda K. Woods said the 2020 budget reflects the board of commissioners’ goal to provide needed services to the citizens.

Steed said the board of commissioners has for a number of years worked very hard to maintain a very small increase from one year to the next.

“Increases are necessarily going to happen; [rather] it’s how we manage those increases,” said Steed.

McCarty at one point said in looking at a business, you look for a return on your investment. And he thinks the increase in General Fund spending will give taxpayers a positive return on their dollars.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

By Gary Huffenberger