WILMINGTON — Clinton County commissioners on Wednesday approved next year’s General Fund budget of $14.8 million.
That compares to the county’s General Fund operating budget of $14.5 million approved last December.
Also by way of comparison, this year’s approved General Fund appropriations are about $200,000 below what county department heads had requested, said Clinton County Commissioner Kerry R. Steed.
In the adopted budget, each county government department received 3 percent more in appropriations for its salary line, regarded as a cost-of-living increase.
After the commissioners’ 3-0 vote to adopt the budget as presented Wednesday after weeks of work, Clinton County Commissioner Brenda K. Woods said she wanted to echo the other commissioners’ statements complimenting department heads for helping contain costs for the county.
“I want to add a thank-you to elected officials and department heads for continuing to run their offices on little to no increase over the past couple of years, and they continue to provide excellent service,” said Woods.
“Unfortunately the revenue numbers are just not where we would like them to be, and that’s something we’re going to have to take a close look at in 2019,” she said.
Governor-elect Mike DeWine has said he’s going to look at the revenue losses that county governments have experienced in recent years due to cuts in local government funds the state provides to counties, and also due to the revenue lost after the federal government determined that the sales tax on Medicaid managed care services — which provided revenue to the state, counties and transit authorities — can no longer be collected.
Commissioners hope Columbus will put into place a revenue replacement mechanism to help offset those losses of funds to counties.
The Clinton County Budget Commission has projected the county will receive about $12.9 million in revenue during 2019, according to Steed. Though the budget commission makes no secret its projections are intended to be on the conservative low side, it’s unlikely the county’s actual 2019 revenues will match its 2019 expenditures as reflected in the budget adopted Wednesday, Steed said.
The start-of-the-year balance (or carryover funds) in the county General Fund had built up to more than $6 million prior to commissioners lowering the county sales tax, said Steed. A 0.5 percent local sales tax rolled off at the end of September 2016, and since then Clinton County commissioners have been spending down the surplus level of the carryover funds.
Clinton County Commissioner Patrick Haley, who will retire from the position Dec. 31, said, “We feel like this is a very workable budget that is reasonable and still provides good services to the citizens of Clinton County.”
Steed, who heads up the county commissioners budgeting discussions with the various departments, said he thinks the past five years the county General Fund budget has stayed within the $14.2 million to $14.8 million range. That, he said, is “an accomplishment.”
Last December’s approved General Fund budget contained a couple new expenditures — a sum of $20,000 was set aside to assist townships with grant dollars they could apply for, while $1,000 was designated for each of the three historical societies in the county.
Neither the township grant program nor the historical societies’ assistance are included in the 2019 budget.
In the 2019 budget, the Clinton County Agricultural Society (Senior Fair Board) receives $10,000. For 2018, the county budget included $35,000 to add and upgrade camping sites at the Clinton County Fairgrounds.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.