The Highland County Board of Commissioners has received the requested budgets for 2017 from county offices supported by the general fund, but next year’s budget can’t be crafted until a certified dollar amount is received from the county auditor.
According to commission president Shane Wilkin, the board has not “aggressively” got into setting out next year’s budget because of waiting to see what voters said about Issue 8, the Children Services levy.
That issue for Children Services would have placed a 1.9-mill tax on property with the money going to support Highland County foster children. Voters on Tuesday turned down the levy by an unofficial count of 9,359 against and 7,249 in favor.
As previously reported, the county’s current levy was designed to support about 60 foster children, but recent years have seen the number of foster children in care more than double that number.
Last year, the county had to appropriate an additional nearly $1 million to pay for the county’s children in foster care. This year is anticipated to be about the same. The new levy was meant to offset that.
Without the new levy, Wilkin said that county offices supported by the general fund will likely see a reduction in their budgets.
Each year in late October to early November, Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley gives the board of commissioners “the number they have to live with” as far as money to budget for the following year, he said, adding that the levy had no bearing on the number he certifies for the general fund offices, which include the courts, administrative offices, and the sheriff’s office.
Once Fawley provides a dollar amount, commissioners will get to work on how the money will be appropriated. It was December last year before the final budget was approved.
In other business, commissioner Jeff Duncan said he recently attended a fundraising event held by the Hope House, a faith-based, nonprofit counseling center in Sinking Spring.
He said he believes people need to know that there are things going on in the county that everyone might not know about, like the Hope House. He said the counseling center is open to anyone and is “serving a need” in the county.
According to the Hope House Christian Counseling Center’s Facebook page, its mission is, “To provide healing through the love of Christ. To be ‘Jesus in the skin’ for people who are in distress.”
Go to the Facebook page for more information or call 937-588-4488.
On another matter, commissioner Tom Horst noted that work on the county courthouse should be coming to a close later this month. He said one of the large stones at the entrance of the court house is set to be replaced on Friday and the other next week. Additionally, the new handicap ramp at the administration building should be open for use next week. The delay has been due to a railing that needs to be installed.
The recent work on both buildings has been made possible by Capital Improvement funds from the state, commissioners said previously, and has not come from county funds.
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.