Clark County commission approves $225 million budget

Technology updates and raises for non-union staff included in 2023 plan.

The Clark County Commission approved a $225.8 million budget for 2023, including a $66.8 million general fund, at its meeting on Wednesday.

Clark County’s budget this year is roughly 10% higher than the 2022 budget of $204.1 million.

This jump is influenced by more than $7.5 million in federal relief through the standard allowance that the county opted to take. That portion of American Rescue Plan Act funding will be spent on projects approved by the commission, according to Clark County administrator Jennifer Hutchinson.

The budget includes projected sales tax revenue to increase by 1.6% due to retail growth in the county, including physical and online sales.

That’s down from last year’s projected sales tax revenue increase of 7.1%. Money collected from sales tax makes up roughly 60% of general fund revenue in Clark County.

The budget also includes about $158.9 million in special revenue funds, such as utilities and federal pass-through dollars used by the Clark County Department of Job and Family Services.

“We’re investing in infrastructure improvements throughout the county with ARPA funds, and continue to make it a priority to modernize government services and technology access,” Board President Melanie Flax Wilt said in a press release.

Also included in the budget is a 4% cost-of-living raise for non-collective bargaining unit, or non-union, employees.

It’s the fourth year in a row the county has included a raise for non-union employees. Last year, a 5% cost of living raise was included in the budget, and the year prior, the raise was 3%.

“We have been able to maintain a balanced budget and increase employee pay and benefits, thanks to stable population growth and steady sales tax income,” Flax Wilt said.

The county used about $15.6 million in carryover funds to balance the general fund budget.

The budget also includes about $5.5 million in capital projects for county departments – including the purchase of new vehicles and equipment for a few departments – and operating money for local agencies such as the Community Improvement Corp., the Clark County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Clark County Ohio State University Extension.

The largest expense found in the 2023 budget is about $19 million that will go to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, up from $15.7 million last year. The sheriff’s office regularly has the highest expense, with it running several agencies, including the Clark County Jail.

The 21% increase this year is influenced by increases to supplies, personnel raises stipulated in the contracts of sheriff’s office employees and increases in costs to maintain the jail, according to a Clark County spokesperson.

The Board of Clark County Commissioners oversees 10 Clark County departments with about 100 employees funded through the county’s general fund, as well as the budgets of 13 Clark County elected officials.

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