Clermont County revenues decline due to COVID-19 restrictions

BATAVIA, OH (June 18, 2020) — Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are estimated to reduce Clermont County general fund revenues from $64.1 million in 2019 to $58.4 million in 2020, said Mary Rains, director of the Clermont County Office of Management and Budget. Rains gave an overview on June 17 during a public hearing on the proposed annual tax budget for 2021.

Fortunately, the county has kept a strong fund balance and reserves due to its responsible management of the budget, Rains said.

Clermont County keeps healthy reserves on hand because of its heavy dependence on sales tax revenues, said David Painter, President of the Clermont County Board of County Commissioners.

The general operating fund represents about a quarter of total Clermont County budgeted receipts and expenditures. It funds 20 of 21 elected officials activities and provides for mandated services related to criminal justice, general government, judicial services, public safety and health and human services.

The state-ordered shutdown of businesses to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus has impacted revenue from sales tax, casinos, local government funds and indigent defense reimbursement. There has also been a reduction in citations, cases and sheriff fees related to court actions.

Revenues from the sales tax are estimated to decline from $29.3 million in 2019 to $26.4 million in 2020. Charges for services are projected to drop from $10.1 million last year to $9.4 million this year. Most other revenue sources are expected to decline, break even or increase modestly.

General fund operating expenses are estimated at to be $63 million for 2020 and $62.4 million for 2021.

Clermont County ended 2019 with a $28.4 million General Fund cash balance, which is projected to decline to $20.8 million at the end of 2020 and to $14.1 million at the end of 2021 if capital expenditures are completed as planned. In addition to this carryover balance, the county has general fund reserves including $5.3 million in the county’s budget stabilization fund.

The Clermont County 2021 Tax Budget – with funding from tax levies as well as other revenue sources – are budgeted to generate revenues of $235 million in 2020 and $259 million in 2021. They generated $237.5 million in 2019. Expenses are budged at $249.7 million in 2020 and $279.6 in 2021.  Budgeted funds balances are estimated at $105 million at the end of 2020 and $84.9 million at the conclusion of 2021 if the re-investment strategy remains consistent.

“I am very proud of the job that the current Board of County Commissioners and previous boards have done to prepare us for such an event as the shut down during the COVID Stay at Home Order,” Commissioner Claire Corcoran said. “Our fiscal conservancy has allowed Clermont County to remain ‘open for business.’ In spite of the adjustments to working remotely and staggering schedules, our county has continued to provide services for our residents. I’d like to especially thank our budget department for continuing to exemplify fiscal responsibility.”