Highland County has seen some of its first revenue losses since a federal law change prohibited the collection of sales taxes from Medicaid-funded managed care organizations (MCOs), according to Highland County Board of Commissioners President Shane Wilkin.
Wilkin said at a commissioners meeting Wednesday morning that a permissive sales tax receipt report presented to the board by Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley indicated the county has lost an estimated $195,601 in sales tax revenue since October of last year.
The report shows Highland County permissive sales tax receipts in the amount of $500,200 in January 2018, $45,290 less than January of last year, or about a nine-percent drop, Wilkin said.
The report also shows receipts in October, November and December of last year on the decline compared to the same months in prior years, by Wilkin’s calculations at a monthly average of $48,900, totalling an estimated $195,601.
“That’s something we’re going to want to keep an eye on,” Wilkin said.
Wilkin said the county is dependent on sales tax revenue to make up about 60 percent of the general fund budget.
“That’s pretty substantial,” he said.
As reported by The Times-Gazette, the county faces an estimated annual loss of $807,000 in sales tax revenue from Medicaid-funded managed care organizations after a federal government directive halted the collection of those tax dollars.
The state legislature and officials in local governments have been tasked with filling a gap of about $207 million in lost revenue for counties and transit authorities around the state.
The state has offered “transitional aid” in the form of two cash payments for the affected entities in an effort to cushion the loss.
According to information provided by the commissioners, Highland County’s total payout will be $1,802,649 divided between two payments, which Wilkin has said will not be enough to cover the county’s losses.
The first payment has already been received by the county, and the second payment is expected some time next month, according to Fawley.
Wilkin has said budget cuts are likely.
In other business Wednesday, the commissioners heard an update on local recycling activities from Highland County Recycling Outreach Specialist Heidi Devine.
Devine said the county has approved a request for grant funds from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for the continuation of the Keep Highland County Beautiful Program, which provides supplies for special litter cleanup events here.
The application will be submitted to the OEPA by Feb. 2, and the recipients will be decided by May 1.
Devine said the Highland County Recycling and Litter Prevention Office has supplies for community cleanup events, including orange and blue plastic bags for trash and recycling, latex gloves, orange safety vests and other items.
Devine also said an electronics collection event will be held Aug. 4 at Premier Grain in Leesburg, and a tire collection event will be held Aug. 18 in the back parking lot at the Hi-Tec Center in Hillsboro.
More details will be released this spring, Devine said.
According to Devine, the deadline for local entities to apply for the 2018 Recycling Grant Program is March 1.
The grant, made possible by the Ross-Pickaway-Highland-Fayette Joint Solid Waste District, can be used to cover costs associated with solid waste, recycling and litter management activities consistent with the approved RPHF Solid Waste Management Plan, according to Devine.
Such projects can include nuisance property cleanup; office, institutional or special-event recycling programs; curbside recycling programs; city- or village-wide cleanup events; and initiating various other recycling and litter-management projects.
Municipalities, villages, townships, state colleges, boards of education, park districts, health districts and nonprofits within Highland County can apply.
According to Devine, beginning now, grant recipients are only required to cover 10 percent of the cost of the entire projects. In the past, recipients had to pay 50 percent.
For 2018, the maximum grant awarded will be $4,500 per activity or event.
For more information on local recycling and litter prevention efforts, call Devine at 937-509-2899, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
No resolutions were on the agenda during Wednesday’s meeting.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.