Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Commissioners Corner - January 2012

The New Year has arrived, and so far it has come in rather meekly. The weather hasn’t been too bad, there seems to be a lull in activity in Columbus, and here in the Commissioner’s Office things are getting back to normal after our appropriations have been completed. Now, we can all look forward to the tax season can’t we? (NO!)

Darke County came through a very tough year in 2011 in pretty decent shape. We balanced our budget, everybody kept their bottom lines steady, and we had a slight increase in sales tax revenue. This year’s General Fund Appropriations will be $15,283,197.93. This reflects an increase of $554,803.79. Including all outside funds the total appropriated amount for Darke County in 2012 is $55,968,852.95. Darke County had an unencumbered balance in 2012 of $2,596,465.34. This was achieved due to the conservative efforts of the Darke County Elected Officials and Department Heads working together to use the money that we receive wisely and efficiently. Thanks to all of our Elected Officials, Department Heads, and the people of the County for spending their money in Darke County.

We are continuing to work hard to save as much money as possible, but with cuts at the Federal and State levels still to come, it will get much tougher. Our estimated revenue does show a slight increase of $123,434.00, but there are various reasons for this amount. Highlighting just a few, Sales tax revenue increased by $500,000, but State cuts to the Local Government Fund (LGF) was $256,049.00, the Public utility reimbursement loss was $26,000.00, and the Personal Property reimbursement loss was $203,000.00 for a total State cut of $485,049.00. The increase in Sales tax only offset the State loss of funds by $14,951.00. The other $108,483.00 was from revenue that was advanced to Federal Grants in 2011 and will be advanced back this year. The increase in the unencumbered balance increase of $404,369.00 over 2011 is due to the tremendous work of the various departments working together and as efficiently as possible to make ends meet.

On the economic front, the E.D. Office continues to advance the merits of Darke County. Projects are in the pipeline for expansion or retention of businesses, and hopefully we can elaborate more by March or April. A main area of focus this year will be in Job Skills training. Governor Kasich has made this a priority this year, and Darke County has been working on this for several months. Once again, we are ahead of the State. Thanks to Marc Saluk for pushing this agenda, so we will have a steady supply of workers for the many available jobs here in Darke County. It should be mentioned here that Gracie Ratliff, the more than capable Director of Jobs and Family Services, is helping with this project and is working to get people placed in the work force as quickly as possible. Thanks to Gracie and her staff for all their hard work.

The Darke County Commissioners are open to the public with Sessions every Monday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Office. We are located just south of the Courthouse at 520 S. Broadway in downtown Greenville. Please join us and let us know your concerns, or questions you have about how things operate here in the County. Hope to see you there!

- The Darke County Commissioners

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