County taking hit in 2017 budget


The Highland County Board of Commissioners will have $9.81 million to budget for next year’s general fund offices, nearly $200,000 less than the current budget, according to numbers provided on Wednesday by Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley.

The breakdown of Fawley’s estimated $9.81 million in revenue for general fund offices is: property taxes, $1.8 million; permissive sales tax, $5.75 million; casino revenue, $425,000; local government, $375,000; fees, $960,000; and other receipts, $500,000.

Commission board president Shane Wilkin noted that the projected amount shows a $190,000 “loss of income” from the current $10 million-plus budget.

According to Fawley, the loss of tax on medical equipment paid for by Medicaid is reflected in his estimated numbers for next year. He said the federal government has determined that particular tax could not be collected, but that won’t take effect until July 1, 2017. To give an idea of the impact of that determination, he said in 2015 that tax amounted to $807,000.

“Unless the state does something about that sales tax, 2018 will take a major hit,” he said.

Commissioners have already received the requested budgets from the county’s general fund offices, which include the sheriff’s office, offices associated with the courts, and the county administrative offices.

The recent defeat of the Children Services levy means the county remains responsible for growing foster care costs from existing general fund revenues.

Wilkin said Wednesday that the board will put together the budget with the provided numbers. Action on a final budget is anticipated by mid-December.

In other business, commissioners approved a motion to accept a $15,000 bid from SS Contractors to upgrade the lighting in the parking lot of the Hi-Tech Center. It is a Capital Fund project, Wilkin said, and will be paid for through those state dollars.

On a related matter, another Capital Fund project at the county courthouse has been completed, commissioner Jeff Duncan said. Work on the courthouse has included painting of the cupola and brick work to address water intrusion issues. According to commissioner Tom Horst, the possibility of replacing the doors at the front of the building is being explored.

The Highland County Board of Commissioners meets each Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. on the second floor of the county administration building, 119 Governor Foraker Pl., Hillsboro. The meetings are open to the public.

Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.

Commissioners (l-r) Jeff Duncan, Shane Wilkin, and Tom Horst are pictured during Wednesday’s commission board meeting. (l-r) Jeff Duncan, Shane Wilkin, and Tom Horst are pictured during Wednesday’s commission board meeting.
Fawley warns 2018 could be even worse

By Angela Shepherd

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