According to new Financial Health Indicators (FHI), developed by the office of Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, Scioto County has been deemed fiscally stable.
According to released information, “the Auditor of State has developed Financial Health Indicators (FHI). FHI are a series of financial information, percentages and ratios gathered from annual financial statements, filed by the local governments which are useful in predicting financial stability. FHI will be used to recognize early signs of fiscal stress at specific local governments and take a proactive approach to monitoring or assisting these local governments, rather than only a reactive approach after declaration of fiscal caution, watch or emergency.”
Scioto County is no stranger to fiscal status. In 2009, the county was placed under fiscal emergency status by the auditor of state. The county received the designation due in part to fund deficits.
As a result of the fiscal status, the county had to make some changes throughout its operation to regain a positive cash balance.
After years of sacrifice and in some cases changing the way it does business, the county was released from the status in June 2014. When the county was released from fiscal emergency status, it agreed to stick within certain standards for the following five years, when drafting yearly budgets. The county is still operating under those standards.
Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis said the lessons learned while under fiscal emergency status is in the minds of office holders and those working within the county when budgeting of large purchases.
Davis said the commissioners spent part of Tuesday afternoon with Scioto County Auditor David Green and members of his staff to further explain the document.
The report from the Auditor of states office examines fiscal year 2015 reports.
“In 2015 (Scioto County) did wonderfully in all 17 financial health indicators and really speaks to the financial health of the county even with the purchase of the annex,” Davis said.
In each of the 17 financial health indicators, the county received positive outlook status.
In 2015, the county formally purchased the courthouse annex across from the Scioto County Courthouse for additional office space.
“(Even with the purchase of the annex), we continued to see a growth in our carryover and that was noted in the report,” Davis said.
He said the staff of the auditor’s office was able to go over the report with the commissioners so they could fully understand what it said.
Davis said it takes a team of dedicated people in the Scioto County Government to keep it going the way it needs to.
“Our auditor keeps us financially sound, our prosecutor keeps us legally sound. We have to depend upon each other and work together to make sure we stay healthy,” Davis said.
He said the financial success or the amount in the counties general fund, should not be attributed solely to the Scioto County Commissioners but the government as a whole.
“When we are looking at a major purchase, we always go to our auditor and say, is this something we can afford to do? We rely on our office holders to keep their budgets in line, we rely on our department managers to keep budgets in line. We are constantly working with everybody to make sure we’re keeping expenses low and we doing everything we can to stay financially healthy,” Davis said.
He said communication is key to all of this and it’s evident across every office within Scioto County.
Davis said the county is taking steps to anticipate some of the fiscal changes coming from the state legislature. Some changes if not corrected by the legislature could the loss of millions of tax dollars.
For more information about the Financial Health Indicators program or to view the Scioto County report visit, http://ohioauditor.gov/FHI/.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter