WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Budget Commission has projected the county government will bring in about $17.6 million in General Fund (GF) revenue next year, a number that bodes well given this year’s $15.5 million GF operating budget.
Every year the county’s budget commission projects revenue for the following year, and Clinton County commissioners use those estimates when determining the annual fund appropriations to each county government department. The county’s budget commission is comprised of the county auditor, county treasurer, and the county prosecutor.
At the budget commission’s appointment Wednesday with county commissioners, Interim Clinton County Prosecuting Attorney Andrew T. McCoy remarked that projecting next year’s revenue amount had been a particularly daunting task this time around because of an economy impacted by COVID-19.
“Although we are trying to read tea leaves to some extent, I think it’s a reasonable and responsible projection,” McCoy said of the estimated $17.6 million figure.
The projections are subject to change as circumstances change, he added.
Clinton County Chief Deputy Auditor Logan M. Bailey said the budget commission is forecasting the county will collect about $7.2 million next year from the 1 percent permissive sales tax that is in effect in all Ohio counties.
Their revenue estimate for Clinton County’s additional 0.5 percent sales tax that was re-instated last October is $3.6 million.
Both Bailey and McCoy said Clinton County has not to date seen a big drop in sales tax revenue during the pandemic months.
“We’ve been watching the sales tax revenue closely every month, and we just haven’t been hit. A lot of counties have had to reduce their General Fund [spending], furlough employees, all kinds of things, and we haven’t,” Bailey said following the appointment.
The combined sales tax is the largest source of money for the Clinton County General Fund, she said.
Revenue that the county usually gets from four casinos in Ohio has gone down.
“We usually get about $125,000 a [calendar] quarter, and only got $9,000 last quarter,” she said.
The status of casino operations in Ohio in 2021 is not presently known. As a result, the budget commission is forecasting the county will receive half the amount it normally receives in a year — $250,000 instead of $500,000.
“That’s one we’re going to have to keep our eye on,” Bailey told the county commissioners.
For county General Fund dollars generated by real estate tax, the budget commission is projecting a $170,000 increase next year compared to this year. New property values were effective January2020, and the taxes are paid one year in arrears. Therefore, tax bills payable in calendar year 2021 will be based on the new property valuations.
Clinton County Treasurer Jason Walt said based on the current interest market, the county’s interest income for next year is projected to be only $240,000.
In both 2018 and 2019, the county treasury’s interest income was around $1 million each year. This year, based on year-to-date numbers, the expectation is for about $800,000.
“It will climb back up again, but it will take time,” said Walt.
On Thursday, Clinton County Commissioners President Kerry R. Steed said the 2021 revenue projections presented by the budget commission “are in line with what we were expecting.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.