Clark County could cut $425K next year

Clark County may cut about $425,000 from its budget next year as it faces a projected loss of $1 million in sales taxes due to changes from the federal government.

IThe county expects to bring in about $38.9 million in its generali fund but spend about $39.6 million. But it’s projected to have about $3.8 million left over from this year that will cover that spending deficit and be available for projects or other agencies.

Clark County’s total budget was about $159 million this year, but projections for next year weren’t available because some elected officials were still working on budgets, County Administrator Jenny Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson reviewed the 2017 budget for Clark County commissioners and department leaders Wednesday. They will vote on the budget next month after two new commissioners are sworn in and more accurate projections are available from the Clark County Auditor’s Office, Commissioner Rick Lohnes said.

“We’ll know the exact amount of money we’ll have to spend,” Lohnes said.

The federal government will end the state’s collection of sales taxes on services from Medicaid managed-care organizations — such as Dayton-based CareSource — as of June 30.

The county may lose about $1 million next year and $3 million in 2018 as the change takes affect next year. It’s still possible Ohio counties could receive relief from the state government next year, but Lohnes said they’re waiting for more details.

“It won’t be dollar for dollar and it won’t be permanent,” he said.

Clark County commissioners said earlier this year they would cut non-personnel items from its 2017 budget by 3 percent. Next year the county might cut up to 4 percent, which could include personnel costs.

Many departments have proposed cutting more than the recommended 3 percent next year, Hutchinson said. Departments will be asked to identify areas to cut or make more efficient early next year in order to avoid personnel cuts in 2018, she said.

“That’s why we want to get the word out so they can come up with some more efficient ways and avoid having personnel (cuts),” she said. “We’ll see how that goes, but I hope it’s not the case, of course.”

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The sheriff’s office and Clark County Common Pleas Clerk of Courts office will review their budgets with county leaders once the newly elected Sheriff Deb Burchett and Clerk of Courts Melissa Tuttle are sworn in next month, Hutchinson said.

After covering the spending deficit, the county likely will have about $2.3 million from its carryover balance to spend on other requests, including agencies such as the Clark County Fairgrounds and the National Trail Parks and Recreation District. Nearly $11 million — including an $8 million multi-purpose facility at the Clark County Fairgrounds — were requested by other agencies.

“There’s going to have to be some prioritizing,” Hutchinson said.

The early budget doesn’t include raises for employees, except those included in union contracts. It’s possible the county could give up to $230,000 in raises with its extra money, Lohnes said.

Opportunities for Individual Change, a local non-profit, asked for about $286,000 for a program to help ex-convicts re-integrate into the community, up from $100,000 each of the past two years. The recommended budget shows $100,000 again in 2017.

Outgoing County Commissioners John Detrick and David Herier challenged newly elected Commissioners Melanie Flax-Wilt and Lowell McGlothin to fund the re-entry program because it saves money in other areas.

“You don’t have to house someone in the jail and you don’t have to have deputies dealing with this person and their family and all the problems that come along with that,” Herier said. “When that person is working, they’re not as dependent on (Clark County Job and Family Service) to take care of them. They pay child support better if they’re not in jail. All of those things you don’t think about at the get-go, but they really affect people’s lives.”

National Trail might receive about $140,000 to operate the Splash Zone Family Aquatics Center on Eagle City Road in Springfield.

However, New Carlisle wasn’t recommended to receive $7,500 to purchase specialty EMS equipment, which Detrick said should be further examined. Last year, New Carlisle got $5,000 for parks operation.

“Why are we treating New Carlisle like a stepchild?” Detrick asked. “They should at least get their $5,000 or more.”

Detrick also asked for more money for both the Dayton Development Coalition and the Community Improvement Corp., two local economic development agencies.

The county is in good financial shape moving forward, he told the newly elected commissioners.

“The fact that we’re debating where to spend (extra money), you’re going to be sleeping at night,” Detrick said.

By the Numbers

$38.9 million: Clark County's projected general fund revenue for next year.

$39.6 million: Clark County's projected general fund expenditures for next year.

$3.8 million: Clark County's projected carryover money this year, which will be used to cover a projected spending deficit.

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The Springfield News-Sun digs into government spending, including recent stories on the city’s budget discussions and changes to Ohio’s sales tax.

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