County expects to get additional revenuePublished 10:13am Friday, July 19, 2013
Will cover parts of court-ordered budgets
Salaries and retirement benefits in the four court-ordered budgets before the Lawrence County Commission should be funded for the rest of the year.
Commissioners approved that action at their regular Thursday meeting following the budget commission certifying $265,373 in anticipated additional revenue.
“The budget commission met on July 16 to take another look at the certifications especially the general fund and all the funds,” Lawrence County Auditor Jason Stephens told the commissioners.
The budget commission, made up of the county auditor, county treasurer and county prosecutor, determines the expected amount of revenue coming into the county before the county commissioners draw up an annual budget.
The budget commission can meet as it wishes to review funding sources to see if more money could be coming in than originally anticipated.
“The state budget was passed on June 30 and we wanted to look at the effect of that budget,” Stephens said. “We had been pretty conservative (in earlier certifications). There is a lot of policy in the state budget.”
The two major changes in certification came from the Local Government Fund and the casino receipts. The LGF was increased by $175,000 to $575,000 and the casino money went up $100,000 to $600,000.
The LGF has been going down for the past few years. In 2010 the state money brought in $1,136,620 to Lawrence County. This year it is expected to bring in between $575,000 to $600,000 making up 6 percent of the county’s revenue.
“It is not going to be much to rely on,” Stephens said. “They haven’t come out with an exact formula (to determine it for this year).”
When the concept of starting casinos in the state was introduced, counties were promised a percentage of their revenue. Originally Lawrence County was expected to receive approximately $900,000.
Stephens and Commissioner Les Boggs observed that the casino revenue is almost equal to the decrease in the Local Government Fund, making the two revenue streams flat instead of offering additional money.
“It was supposed to add revenue, but it is not,” Stephens said.
“At the same time they give unfunded mandates,” Boggs said.
“If we want the services, we have to have the funding streams,” the auditor said. “The state is not going to do it.”
The other revenue sources that were recertified were the Homestead Exemption where property owners 65 years or older get a reduction in their property taxes. In the new state budget, there are income restrictions so not every property owner meeting the age requirement can get the exemption.
Originally $390,000 was certified. Now the commission expects that revenue to drop by $5,000. Delinquent intangible tax is now at $1,561; clerk of court fees were increased by $20,000 to $140,000; court costs and fines were reduced by $25,000 to $350,000; sheriff’s contracts were increased by $20,000 to $40,000 and cost allocation was reduced from $90,000 to $68,812. Sheriff’s contracts cover special assignments by the office and cost allocation corrects a transfer of money previously credited.
The new appropriation covers the budgets of common pleas court, county court and probate/juvenile court. Money previously unappropriated in the original budget was used for the county prosecutor’s office.