Commissioners approve 2023 budget


By Meladi Brewer

GREENVILLE — The Darke County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday to accept the 2023 budget and pay off a longstanding debt. Commissioners Matt Aultman and Mike Stegall were present.

County Auditor Carol Ginn submitted the 2023 Darke County General Fund Budget with estimated appropriation of $28,199,925.89. The county’s increased cost for health insurance is reflected with an estimated 10 percent increase, and a 3 percent increase is included in salary lines for the County General Fund.

“It is unknown at this time the county’s share or match portion for any grants that may be received in 2023,” Ginn said.

She said on Dec. 1, 2020, the county paid off a 15-year bond taken out in 2011 for $740,000, and the payment of $345,000 saved a total of $65,325 in interest. A 28-year bond was paid off in July of this year with a balance of $2,810,000. The payment saved $480,609.51 in interest.

“The Commission Board is working towards paying off the bond taken out in 2011 for $3,580,000. The payment of $1,615,000 will save an interest of $143,553.80,” Ginn said.

Fortunately, the commissioners were able to approve the fund transfer of $1,300,891.26 in order to pay off the final debt for the Wagner Avenue Government Center (WAGC) facility thus making the county debt free.

“I just can’t tell you how happy we are to get this done,” Stegall said. “I know it was one of the things Matt and I wanted to do when we came into the office, and it looks like it is finally happening.”

“I will say a lot of the money to pay the bond has come from sales tax because sales tax over the last couple of years has been very good, and we put most of that money back to pay off those loans,” Ginn added.

The commissioners originally believed the WAGC facility debt would not have been able to be paid off until the 2030s. Aultman credits Ginn and her office for the hard work they did in order to organize the funds needed.

“Some of the things we had money allocated for that never got spent and we didn’t have a need for allowed us to have access to unspent funds that we were able to accumulate over the last two to three years,” Aultman said.

The commissioners said they didn’t want this debt to be a debt for future commissioners, as the debt was already in existence when Aultman and Stegall came into office. The commissioners said it opens opportunities for other projects that are on the horizon without any debt looming over their shoulders.

“Carol is the best auditor in the State of Ohio. I will guarantee you that,” Stegall said. “She makes everything work. She truly is the best.”

Concluding the regular agenda, Stegall spoke up about an article he was given in regards to the airport loan the Darke County Airport had received. The airport received a loan for approximately $1.4 million in order to construct a new terminal building as the existing terminal is over 50 years old, and it is an obstruction to current runway design surfaces.

“We never thought we would get it, but only two airports in Ohio received loans out of 88 airports,” Aultman said.

The commissioners agree they are very fortunate to have received the funds needed to pay off debts and continue other projects.

The Darke County Board of Commissioners meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at their office located at 520 S. Broadway Street in Greenville. To contact the office, call 937-547-7370.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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