WILMINGTON — For a second straight year, Clinton County commissioners expect to draw money from a very healthy pool of carryover dollars in order to balance next year’s revenue with next year’s General Fund expenses.
The anticipated move comes as no surprise. In fact, when a 0.5 percent county sales tax was not renewed last year, the commissioners’ plan was to pull from the then almost $6 million of carryover the county had built up, Clinton County Commissioners President Kerry R. Steed said Monday.
A carryover is the forwarding of a balance of funds from a current budget year into the next budget year, so that there are enough cash reserves to pay costs early in the year and for possible emergency use as well. Clinton County’s carryover had grown to a higher level than is generally recommended for a budget cushion.
On Monday, Steed reviewed the Clinton County Budget Commission’s chart of projected revenue for 2018, adding two income items not yet included in the chart. He estimated $13.8 million in available revenue for next year’s General Fund expenditures.
As previously reported, Clinton County government offices are being asked to cut non-personnel spending by 10 percent for their next budgets, and to keep the expense of wages the same as this year. In September, Steed said the budget-cutting is needed because of a pending big increase in health insurance and a $1 million request to deal with a local jump in foster care placements due to the opioid crisis.
Clinton County Auditor Terry Habermehl said the revenue numbers for next year are similar “to where they have been,” minus the revenue generated by the 0.5 percent sales tax that’s no longer on the rolls.
During the revenue discussion Monday, Steed said prior boards of commissioners have not wanted the proceeds from the sale of the former county-owned hospital to go toward operating expenses such as fuel, vehicles and salaries, but rather for capital projects and a potential legacy fund.
Soon county department heads will start presenting departmental budget requests to the commissioners as the project of shaping a county General Fund budget begins.
In light of the income situation, the News Journal asked Steed how the projected revenue numbers may affect the future of the county’s economic development office. The county’s economic and business development director, Bret Dixon, resigned this year in early May.
Steed said Monday for his part the budget does not determine which direction the county will decide to go regarding economic development. Which direction to take in economic development, he said, is a “greater discussion” that goes beyond annual budget needs.
Though Dixon has left the position, efforts at economic development have not stopped, Steed stressed. He said Dan Evers with the Clinton County Port Authority is utilized for some things, JobsOhio for others, and Clinton County Administrator Mary Ann Foland for others. And as to the construction projects at Alkermes and at R+L Carriers’ headquarters, the county’s building and zoning office is assisting with guidance, said Steed.
In other news Monday, commissioners passed a resolution to support proposed Ohio House Bill 123 which concerns payday loan practices. Their action follows a Sept. 27 session in the commissioners office where clergy spoke up against “predatory rates of up to 591 percent,” and spoke in favor of the proposed statewide legislation to reform payday lending in Ohio.
In addition to passing the resolution 3-0, commissioners also voted to send a letter to Speaker of the Ohio House Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) encouraging support for House Bill 123.
In other action, commissioners appointed Jasson Czaika to the board of the Clinton Field Airport, which is a public-use airport located on Curry Road in Clinton County. He is filling the unexpired term of John Settlemyre who recently was appointed to the board that governs the Clinton County Port Authority.
Czaika has experience in aircraft maintenance and inspection.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.