The Highland County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday approved the county’s 2017 budget at $42.38 million. That number includes $9.81 million for the general fund offices, which includes all county administrative offices, court-associated offices, and the sheriff’s office.
The budget requests previously submitted from the general fund offices totaled more than $10.66 million, according to a previous budget draft.
As reported previously by The Times-Gazette, the general fund budget for next year is nearly $200,000 less than the 2016 budget due to a decrease in permissive sales taxes from medical equipment paid for by Medicaid that as of July 1, 2017 can no longer be collected. That annual loss will amount to about $800,000, commissioners said previously.
According to the approved general fund budget, an economic development line item has been included in the budget, just as it has the last couple years. Commission President Shane Wilkin said the board continues to include the line item because hiring someone in that capacity is what it hopes to do at some point. The total appropriated to that for 2017 is $52,000.
Other appropriated money within the general fund budget includes $2.61 million for the sheriff’s office, with more than $2 million of that appropriated for salaries; $402,905 for the commission board; $449,000 for maintenance and operations; $362,542 for the prosecutor’s office; $218,223 for common pleas court; $111,570 for the juvenile court; $280,990 for the board of elections; $387,390 for veterans services; and more than $3 million appropriated to “County Miscellaneous,” which includes items like employee retirement, insurances, and $300,000 in attorney fees for representation of the indigent.
In other business, the board of commissioners received a letter from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) in regard to the river otter, which the agency said is becoming more abundant throughout the state. The letter addresses a monitoring program of specific bridge sites across the state, which includes southwestern Ohio.
In a pamphlet included with the letter ODNR encourages people who see the river otters to report the sightings to the agency. Helpful information to include would be the date of the sighting, where, and how many animals were seen. You can contact the ODNR Division of Wildlife District Five office in Xenia at 937-372-9261.
Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley on Wednesday presented the most recent permissive sales tax receipt totals as $567,264. The permissive sales tax returned to the county is the portion of all sales taxes collected in the county in a given month. The funds go to the county’s general fund. The total received for 2016 is $6.81 million, according to information provided by the auditor.
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.