By Kristin Rover
Clermont County Commissioners are working toward approving 2014 appropriations before the end of the year.
Sukie Scheetz, director of the Office of Management and Budget, presented the 2014 appropriation proposal to commissioners during their Nov. 20 session.
Scheetz explained the appropriation process and highlighted the major expenditures and revenues expected for next year during the presentation.
Scheetz said when they begin the appropriation process, they look at the fund balance at the end of the year and then look forward to next year and what expenditures and revenues are expected to decide what changes need to be made.
“By law, appropriation has to be balanced,” Scheetz said about the process for the county.Scheetz spent most of the presentation talking about the county’s general fund, which she said is the largest discretionary fund in the county.
Scheetz said the estimated operating revenue for the general fund in 2014 is approximately $49 million.
She said this revenue includes property tax, charges for service, and sales taxes.
“Two-thousand and thirteen is looking good for two reasons,” Scheetz said. “One is sales tax and two is the casinos.”
Scheetz said looking forward to 2014, they still expect growth in the county, which she said is largely tied to sales tax.
But Scheetz said it is hard to predict exactly what kind of growth they will see from sales tax in 2014.
She said the other revenue increase they did see this year was funds from the casinos that have opened in the state.
“Someone asked have we recovered from the downturn, the answer is not really,” Scheetz said.
Scheetz said they are still recovering from the decrease in revenue in 2008 and 2009.
She said during the downturn revenues dropped approximately $6.2 million and they have recovered approximately $2.5 million, which means they have about $3.7 million to go.
“That is going to take a while,” Scheetz said about rebuilding the revenue.
This time last year, commissioners worked to reduce $1.5 million in appropriations by making adjustments across all of their operating funds.
When it comes to expenditures for 2014, Scheetz said the departments with the largest expenditures include criminal justice, judicial services and general government.
Scheetz said the largest growth in expenditures is the sheriff’s area.
“Jail overcrowding is costing like $200,000 per year,” Scheetz said.
Scheetz said judicial services are also higher than previous years.
“We had two new positions,” Scheetz said about juvenile court. “A staff attorney and clerk.”
Scheetz said the creation of the positions did bring in additional revenue, however.
Scheetz said general government expenditures include commissioners, auditor, prosecutor, board of elections, and other government offices.
She said they have had some salary increases including normal step ups in the past two years.
Commissioner Ed Humphrey specified that all of the salary actions have been for employees.
“Employees have had increases, elected officials have stayed the same since 2008,” Humphrey said.
Scheetz said they are estimating a $14 million general fund balance at the end of 2014, which includes $1.5 million that is restricted for economic development.
Scheetz briefly discussed other fund appropriations in the county, which includes health and human services, transportation, public safety and other departments and services.
Scheetz said commissioners will need to approve appropriations before the end of the year.
“December 4 I will be back with a resolution to adopt appropriations,” Scheetz said.
Scheetz said commissioners will continue to update appropriations throughout the year next year as revenues and expenditures change.
For more information about the county budget process, or to view the appropriation presentation visit www.clermontcountyohio.gov.