County gets budget cuts for 2019

By Alberta Stojkovic - The Sentinel

MOUNT GILEAD — While the total revenue for the county has continued to increase over the past few years, there has been a drop in the Morrow County sales tax along with a loss of the state managed care tax in 2018.

County Commissioners point out that these losses have caused most departments in county government to experience a cut in their budget allocation for 2019.

“Buy locally,” said Morrow County Auditor Pat Davies, referring to the loss in sales tax revenue this year. “That is something we can all do.”

The room became quiet last week as officials and department heads reviewed allocations determined by the Morrow County Commissioners with revenue numbers from the County Auditor.

Commissioner Tom Whiston opened the meeting stating that the commissioners were “constrained in making the allocations for the general fund by what is certified.”

“Requests from departments were more than $2 million more than was certified by the budget commission,” Whiston said.

Whiston noted that only one department Morrow County Recorder Dixie Shinaberry, had requested a cut in its budget. Shinaberry said she was able to do that because she could use an outside fund for some of the her office budget.

Most county departments received a cut from last year’s 2018 budget appropriation. Exceptions that received an increase were the Veterans Services, the Sheriff’s office and the county correctional facility. The court support services and municipal court also received increases.

Departments that saw employee wage increases were the County Commissioners office, Prosecutor, Common Pleas Court, Court Support services, Probate Court, Juvenile Court, Sheriff and Corrections, Dog and Kennel. Whiston pointed out that the courts are able to court-order their increases in wages and services.

Davies presented the county budget commission’s certified amount for the 2019 General Fund total of $10,149, 444.00. The total includes 2019 estimated revenues of $8,949,444 plus unencumbered carry over of $1,200,000. The Morrow County Budget Commission is made up of County Auditor Pat Davies, Prosecuting Attorney Charles Howland and County Treasurer Mike Goff.

The Budget Commission also certified numerous other revenue sources that include grants, federal, state and other funds for specific purposes such as roads, recycling and the health district.

Davies commented that “revenues show a notable decrease in sales tax revenue. Sales tax receipts account for about 38.86 percent of the general fund income. Property/real estate tax accounts for 23.16 percent of the general fund, intergovernmental funds make up 15.48 percent, license and permit fees are 12.21 percent, charges for service 2.20 percent and investment interest is 2.26 percent.

Davies thanked former County Treasurer Dennis Leader for “wise investments that have produced a considerable increase in investment income.”

She said the countywide property value has grown by 2.29 percent and continues to increase. Most of the growth in the county has been in commercial, industrial and new residential development in the southern part of the county.

By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel