DARKE COUNTY — Darke County is looking at a shortfall of more than $1 million in 2019, according to budget figures released Monday.
The Darke County Board of Commissioners voted to approve the county’s general fund budget for 2019. The budget appropriates a total of $21,945,230.57 for 2019 expenses.
“These are all estimates right now, and the budget is a tool that we use to look into the future for the next year,” Commissioner Mike Rhoades said.
Much of the projected $1,084,311.57 shortfall is being attributed to a loss of $800,000 in revenue from the federal government’s elimination of sales tax on Medicare and Medicaid services. Further, the commissioners pointed to other pending expenses, such as security upgrades at the courthouse and potential expenditures for new voting machines.
“The majority of this is unfunded mandates set down by the state,” Rhoades said. “We’re looking at these numbers now, and we’ll have to take a look at them this fall to see exactly where all the cards fall and determine then where there will be any cuts needed to the general fund.”
He said anticipated cuts could potentially range from 3 to 9 percent.
“All the elected officials have done their fair part, and their good part, to manage the monies they’ve got to work with,” Rhoades added. “We don’t like passing this in the red, but the facts are the facts and we have to deal with it as it comes along.”
Darke County Auditor Carol Ginn said it has been 12 years since the county’s budget was last in the red.
In other business, the county agreed to contract with Crawford, Murphy & Tilly of Columbus to provide consulting and engineering services at the Darke County Airport, replacing Stantec Consulting Services, which had been the engineering consultant for more than 10 years.
Facility & Safety Manager John Cook said the Federal Aviation Administration requires counties to send requests for qualifications every five years, and he and the commissioners were impressed by CMT.
As well, the board passed an emergency resolution to repair the HVAC control system at the Wayne Avenue Government Center, at an estimated cost of $23,500.
The Darke County Board of Commissioners meets every Monday and Wednesday.