By WAYNE ALLEN
PDT Staff Writer
The Scioto County Commissioners received positive budget news on Thursday. The county’s permissive sales tax revenue is above estimates by $114,000 for the first two months of the year.
The commissioners reported receiving $874,848 in permissive sales tax in December 2011, representing a $46,000 increase over December 2010. December is the first reportable month of the 2012 budget year.
The county’s permissive sales tax was up $68,000 in January.
According to tax records, the county took in $10,252,517 in permissive sales tax for 2011, $395, 517 over original estimates.
The county has been operating without a financial recovery plan since the beginning of 2012. Without a recovery plan the commissioners passed a three-month appropriation budget.
It was decided at the Thursday meeting of the Scioto County Financial Planning and Supervision Commission the decision on passing a new financial recovery plan will be delayed until March 5. This will allow the commissioners to finish the budget.
Skip Riffe, chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners, said the budget will include money to hire someone to update county tax maps.
Riffe said 2012’s budget would fund the position for 10 months at $62,500, which includes maintenance and supplies.
“Unless something changes, and I don’t think it will, it (the responsibility to updates the county tax maps) will remain in the Engineer’s Office. The position has to be funded through the county’s general fund with some help from the county auditors office,” Riffe said.
He said the goal is to have a new recovery plan approved March 5, then the commissioners can approve the rest of the year’s budget by the end of March.
In 2010 and 2011, the commissioners dedicated $500,000 to deficit reduction. “In the 2012 recovery plan we asked for that number to be reduced to $250,000 to give us (commissioners) some breathing room in the budget,” Riffe said. “There was some debate over that idea today. In the end it was decided that we do the 2012 plan based on a $250,000 deficit reduction amount.”
Riffe said committing that $500,000 each year makes the budget really tight. Riffe is optimistic the commissioners will exceed the $250,000 in savings.
“We will save more than that ($250,000). We just needed that breathing room,” Riffe said.
He said the additional money will be used to reinstate general fund employees to a 40-hour work week, and absorb any health insurance increases that would otherwise be picked up by the employees.
“Over the years our (general fund) employees have not had any increases in pay and have had to pay more every time our health care increases. We have not included any raises in 2012, That breathing room allowed us the room not to go back into our employees’ pockets,” Riffe said.
The county ended 2011 with a positive cash balance in the general fund for the first time since 2010. The commissioners started 2010 with a deficit of $2.093 million in the general fund. At the end of 2011 the general fund had a balance of $362,095.72.
The commissioners started 2010 with a deficit of $2.093 million in the general fund. By the end of 2010 they were able to cut the general fund debt to $893,716 and cutting the general fund debt by $1,199,720.44.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.