- Michael Cooper Staff Writer
The Clark County commissioners will examine cuts to its $40 million general fund budget next year as a $2 million deficit looms in 2019 due to a recent change in sales tax collection.
The budget is expected to be finalized by the end of January.
“We’re making decisions now that will affect the (2019 deficit),” County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said. “(Those decisions) will either make it worse or better. Every dollar we save eases the pain a year or so down the road. We need to start making good decisions over the next month that will help us in that time frame.”
The county is projected to generate about $38 million in revenue next year, down from about $39.4 million this year. The reduced revenue is directly related to the loss of about $1.2 million due to federal changes to sales tax this year, Clark County Administrator Jenny Hutchinson said. The federal government ended the state’s collection of sale taxes on services from Medicaid managed-care organizations — such as Dayton-based CareSource — as of June 30.
“You can definitely tell when that change occurred,” she said.
Clark County collected about $3 million in Medicaid Health Insuring Corp. sales taxes annually, according to state data — making up more than 12 percent of its $23.5 million sales tax revenue. Earlier this year about $425,000 was cut from the county’s $43 million general fund budget due to the projected loss of the sales tax.
The county is projected to spend about $40.8 million next year, up slightly from this year ($40.7 million).
The county saw its debt increase by about $500,000, Hutchinson said. The proposed budget also doesn’t include raises, except for employees in bargaining units who agreed to raises, she said.
Commissioners asked each department to cut its budget by 3 percent, which could have saved the county about $1.2 million, Hutchinson said. However, the total amount of requests totaled a 0.3 percent increase from last year.
The county will use about $267,000 in carryover funds and about $2.5 million in transitional dollars provided by the state government to balance its budget this year.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office proposed budget is about $15.2 million, the largest item in the county’s general fund.
Several supplemental requests were made that could be approved later, including four new patrol officers and four new detectives at the sheriff’s office, for a total of about $468,000.
Another supplemental request included a 2 percent cost of living increase for all non-union county employees at a total cost of about $243,000.
The county will approve a temporary budget later this month and approve its final budget in mid-January, Hutchinson said.
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