Concerns over 2017 budget

Published 12:07 am Sunday, December 11, 2016

Medicaid taxes to be cut

The Lawrence County Budget Commission, made up of county auditor Jason Stephens, county treasurer Stephen Burcham and county prosecutor Brigham Anderson, has not yet released an estimate of next year’s revenues, leaving the commissioners to possibly have to move forward with passing a temporary budget for the first three months of next year.

“The indications we’ve been getting is that it’s not going to be a very good budget,” commissioner Bill Pratt said.
Pratt said that sales taxes, which make up 60 percent of the budget, will be significantly affected next year with a possible $1.3 million decrease in revenue from a change in law in the state of Ohio to not add sales taxes to Medicaid payments.

“There are about 20,000 people in Lawrence County on Medicaid,” Pratt said. “When that goes away, it will affect the sales tax tremendously.”

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Sales tax in Lawrence County is 1.5 percent, and Ohio is one of five states that will cut taxes on Medicaid payments.
Pratt added that the change might not go into affect until the middle of next year, which would lighten the impact to the county to about $650,000.

“Part of the issue right now with the budget commission is trying to determine how much our sales tax is going to be,” Pratt said. “I would rather pass a permanent budget, but in this case, it might be better to pass a temporary budget for the beginning of next year.”

If a temporary budget is passed, commissioner-elect DeAnna Holliday will be able to have input on the permanent budget.

The budget commission is set to meet Monday to review proposed revenues and the commissioners will have a workshop to review the budget at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Also at commission, the commissioners:

• Approved and signed the weekly invoices and certificates as presented by the Auditor’s office.

• Approved two floodplain permits.

• Approved 48 transfer funds.

• Approved seven appropriate funds.

• Accepted the resignation of part-time paramedic Jeremy Wrenn, effective Dec. 9, 2016.

• Received and filed the request from the village of Proctorville requesting $30,000 for budget assistance.

• Received and referred the petition to the Fayette Township Trustees requesting Township Road 205 to be repaired, paved and maintained.