County General Fund Has $4 Million Balance After First Quarter
At the end of the first quarter of 2011, on March 31, the Fulton County general fund had a balance of about $4.1 million, Brett Kolb, Fulton County auditor, reported.
Kolb issued a first-quarter report on the county general fund and other larger accounts. This is the first time such a report has been issued.
The cash may come in handy, as Fulton County, like all Ohio government entities, is facing cuts in the money it will receive from the state of Ohio.
Total revenues for the first quarter were shy of $3.6 million, almost $601,000 over the roughly $3 million collected in the first quarter of 2010. Most of the increase in revenue could be traced back to the half-percent increase in the county share of the sales tax, which was implemented by Fulton County commissioners in January 2010.
On the expenditure side, Kolb’s report showed the county spent about $4 million in the first quarter of 2011. That means Fulton County spent $411,824.27 more than it took in. Encumbered
Kolb was quick to point out the expenditures include money that was paid, or encumbered, which means the county has contracted for a particular item or service but has yet to pay the bill, and the money still is in the county checkbook.
Fulton County started the year with a carryover, or fund balance, of about $4.6 million, about $1.5 million more than the $3.1 million it had on hand at the beginning of 2010. The larger 2011 balance can mostly be attributed to the sales tax hike.
Because the county spent (or encumbered) more than it took in during the first quarter of 2011, Kolb’s accounting shows the county’s cash balance, as of the end of the first quarter of 2011, was about $4.1 million. Challenges
The $4.1-million fund balance is almost twice as much as what was available at the end of the first quarter of 2010.
However, Fulton County, like almost all Ohio government entities, is facing serious cuts it receives from the state.
Under the two-year state budget proposed by John Kasich, Ohio governor, Fulton County officials are looking at a loss over $800,000 over three years just from the cuts in the Local Government Fund.
The Local Government Fund is a vehicle through which the State of Ohio routes tax money back to counties, cities, and villages.
Kolb said Kasich’s budget is just a proposal.
“We don’t have any idea of what the actual budget will look like,” he said.
Kolb said the budget must go through the Ohio House of Representatives and the Senate, where it will be altered, amended, and adjusted.
“I’ve never seen a (budget) proposal go through exactly as it was proposed,” he said.
Kolb said county officials are being prudent.
“They haven’t gone on a big hiring frenzy. They haven’t given out any big raises,” he said.