BATAVIA, Ohio (Nov. 19,2015) The Clermont County Board of Commissioners approved a 2016 General Fund operating budget of $53.2 million at their Nov. 18 session, an increase over 2015’s $50.9 million budget.
The General Fund is the largest discretionary source of funds in the county, and finances 20 of 21 elected offices in Clermont County. (The Engineer’s Office is funded through state gasoline taxes and driver license fees.)
Sales tax, which provides almost 50% of General Fund revenue, has continued to increase, according to Sukie Scheetz, Director of the Office of Management and Budget. In fact, the county expects its 2016 revenues to finally be above 2007, when operating revenue peaked at $53.3 million, before the slide into recession began.
The county will increase its reserves in 2016, to protect against increasing volatility in revenue sources, Scheetz said. “We typically hold 25% of revenues in reserve, or three months of operating expenses,” she said. She recommended, and commissioners approved, changing that to 33%, enough to cover four months of operating expenses.
Commissioners outlined some priorities for the 2016 budget, which include:
• Restoration of two sheriff deputy positions.
• Restoration of a building inspector position.
• A full year of funding for 50 additional beds added in 2015 at the County Jail.
• Salary increases for county employees averaging 2.85%
Commissioners expressed confidence in the 2016 budget.
“We’re pleased to see sales tax revenue continue to gain,” said Commissioner Ed Humphrey, President of the BCC. “As new retail opens in Clermont County, we hope to see that trend continue.”
“Although we are in a better position than we were a few years ago, it makes sense to bolster our reserves,” said Commissioner Bob Proud, Vice President of the BCC. “Our residents expect us to be prudent in budgeting, and this extra cushion will be good to have when the economy turns down again.”
“This budget allows us to continue to live within our means, but still target certain priorities for Clermont County,” said Commissioner David Uible, member of the BCC. “We’re pleased to be able to restore certain positions that have been vacant for a while.”