Projected revenue for 2024 for Highland County was discussed at the weekly Wednesday morning meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners.
Alex Butler, Highland County auditor, said the total estimated revenue for 2024 would be $14 million. Specifically, his estimates for revenue include $8.5 million from permissive sales tax, $2.4 from real estate property taxes, $1.1 million from fees, $500,000 from casino revenue, $500,000 from local government funds and $1 million from other receipts.
Butler said the 2024 estimation was projected to be more than 2023’s number.
“I looked back over the last five years of historical data we had and you know, take into account the numbers, but you also take into account other economic indicators and what could possibly happen in the market,” Butler said. “You know, the county has many general fund funding sources, but our bread and butter is the permissive sales tax. So, is it possible with, given, the larger economy now that that number would decrease next year? It’s possible. I mean, we’ve seen this year, some months are less than they were last year. But at the same time, it’s stable. You know, the bottom hasn’t fallen out. So we, or I, try to come up with a conservative yet realistic number at the same time and that’s what I feel pretty comfortable with.”
Butler said that revenue is up for the city, the county, the schools and the townships, but that the cost of business is up as well. He said everyone’s revenue has seen an “unexpected, positive and sustained” post-COVID trend, but he also said that will probably not last forever.
“I always go back to 2008, 2009 and how quickly things changed in the course of three months, and while this an educated guess, and a very good guess, there are market forces out there that could come to play that could see us looking at $10 million instead of $14 (million) when you look at how revenue can get lost all of a sudden,” Dave Daniels, vice president of the board of commissioners, said. “We’ve seen it before. It’s not something you can say will never happen because it has happened.”
In other finance news, Butler said the November sales tax receipts were down by $8,597 compared to the year prior, now at $764,917.
In other news, Jeremy Ratcliff, director of Highland County Jobs and Family Services, discussed approval for a levy estimation. In the November General Election, a Highland County Children Services levy was defeated 6,582 to 5,001.
“This would be the first step in investigating a levy for the ballot in March,” he said.
He said that it would hopefully come back within two weeks so he could make an official recommendation to put a replacement levy on the March ballot.
He said the replacement levy would be different from the one on the November ballot in that it would not be an increase and would have the same rate of $900,000.
The commissioners gave updates on American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) projects.
Daniels said he recently attended a construction update meeting regarding the Rocky Fork Wastewater Treatment Plant. He said that phase one for that project has been underway for a while. He said they’ve finished pouring concrete on the bottom of the clarifier and they expect to have the walls poured on “clarifier one” in mid-December and the walls poured on clarifier two in mid-January,
Commissioner Brad Roades said that at the OSU Extension Building, the roof and porches are on, as well as the venting on the sides.
Daniels said crews at the new Records Storage Building site on Beech Street are working on compaction and doing a soil test. He said the soil they’re moving around is reportedly good for compaction, meaning “a little bit more activity” has been happening over this week.
Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner said the health department will be offering free flu shots from Dec. 3-9. He said this “is kind of” the last time of the season the department pushes flu shots because it takes a couple of weeks for the shots to “kick in” and provide protection.
After Daniels saying he heard illness was going through the community, Warner said he was talking to some health care providers at a hospital who said they were seeing some higher numbers and hospitalization increases. He said the numbers are “trending up” and that he didn’t think anybody was surprised by that.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.