DARKE COUNTY — At its final session of 2016, the Darke County Board of Commissioners approved the county’s 2017 budget appropriations.
Darke County Auditor Carol Ginn submitted the budget to Commissioners Mike Stegall, Diane Delaplane and Mike Rhoades on Wednesday. All three voted to approve.
General fund appropriations are estimated at more than $23 million, while outside funds administered by the board amount to more than $54 million. Including both general and outside funds, the county’s total budget for 2017 is estimated at approximately $77 million.
The county funds 67 departments funded with its general funds as well as 133 funds outside the general fund that the Auditor’s office tracks for budgeting purposes.
Ginn stated in a letter to the board that the estimated revenue for the county’s general fund is $17,802,342.77.
“This reflects an increase in estimated revenue of $2,276,628.87 over the 2016 estimated revenue of $15,525,713.90,” she wrote.
However, Ginn cautioned that the increased estimated revenue is not exactly what it seems, as it includes state and federal grant reimbursements of more than $1.8 million, the possible sale of county property at an estimated $1 million and transfer advances back to the county of $413,934.
“It makes it look like the county has far more revenue than it does,” she said.
When removed from the estimate of $17.8 million, it leaves an amount closer to $14.5 million, which is $987,432 less than the 2016 estimated revenue.
“The county isn’t showing an actual increase in revenue, but accounting for revenue being transferred or advanced from one fund to another,” she said.
As well, Ginn cautioned that the sales tax on Medicaid Managed Care will end in June, with the county seeing a decrease in sales tax of between $250,000 to $300,000 for 2017, and up to $600,000 for 2018.
“The State of Ohio is looking at the Medicaid Managed Care sales tax lost but at this time we have not heard what they may do to shore up this loss,” she wrote.
The unencumbered balance for the Darke County general fund is more than $5.5 million, reflecting an increase over the 2016 unencumbered balance of $717,706.37. This balance will cover the county’s expenses until the real estate tax settlement is finalized in March.
According to Ginn, the $5.5 million balance was achieved “due to the conservative efforts of the Darke County Elected Officials and Department Heads working together along with a 2.92 percent sales tax revenue increase over the previous year.”
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