Fulton County’s budget for 2011 is very nearly balanced, said Vond Hall, Fulton County administrator.
As of last week, anticipated 2011 general fund expenses were ahead of revenues by $70,891.36, which on a budget of close to $11 million, represented about .65% of the total.
The general fund pays for most of the day-to-day operating expenses of the county. Other funds are strictly limited to specific purposes.
Hall said county officials were projecting revenues of $10,871,344, with expenses of $10,942,235.36.
There are no major cuts in the 2011 budget.
“We have cut and cut in prior years, so we only had to hold the line,” Hall said.
“We have for the most part identical expenses since we shared (budget information) with (the department heads).
The 2011 budget includes no pay raises, and no new major capital expenses.
The good news for county employees is the furlough plan will end in July 2011.
Under the plan, the commissioners cut county employee wages by 10 days, or 80 hours, the maximum allowed by state law.
The wage cut was first instituted in the second half of 2009, was in effect throughout 2010, and will end about midway through next year.
Another bit of good news: Hall predicted the county’s general fund will end 2010 with a carryover, or cash reserve, of about $3 million.
The carryover is the amount of cash on hand at the end of a year.
The carryover is important, because it’s used to fund the first few weeks of the new year.
The county doesn’t receive a significant influx of cash until late February or early March from disbursement of property taxes, which are due from property tax payers in January and July of each year.
Hall tries to end each year with about $2.5 million to $2.7 million in carryover money, but has made due with less.
For 2011, the county expects to receive $1.6 million from property taxes, the amount budgeted for tax year 2010.
By Nov. 15, 2010, the county treasurer had collected $1,546,322.19, which is $53,677.81 shy of projections.
The 1% portion of the county sales tax for 2010 was anticipated to collect $3,750,000 in revenues. With one month of revenue to still be collected for the year, the sales tax has brought in $3,498,460.45, which is $251,539.55 below the 2010 budgeted figure.
However, in 2009, the December sales tax check from the Ohio Department of Taxation was over $277,000, which should push the sales tax collection at least to, and perhaps beyond, $3.75 million.
Add to that the one-half of one percent (.5%) additional sales tax the commissioners added on top of the 1% tax.
The additional sales tax was added by the commissioners in 2009, taking effect Jan. 1, 2010.
For 2010, the county budgeted the half-percent tax to raise an additional $1 million. When the November check was received from the Department of Taxation, the amount raised by the additional tax was $1,254,096.73.
The county anticipates the 1% sales tax plus the additional half-percent tax to raise $5.25 million. That’s $500,000 more than $4.75 million that was anticipated for 2010.
For 2011, county officials estimate 2011 revenues are to be $551,406.35 more than the county took in during 2010. The bulk of the anticipated rise in revenue comes from the sales tax.
An open question county officials are facing is what legislators in Columbus will do about their own funding problems.
The State of Ohio is looking at an $8 billion shortfall for the next biannual budget, and many fear that state support for schools and local governments– including counties– might be on the chopping block.
Hall said the county general fund receives about $1 million from the state.
He said he anticipates about $500,000 in state revenue being cut in 2011, with the remainder disappearing in 2012.
If the state decides to end its support of counties, “it will, without a doubt, be impossible to budget for,” said Hall.
Hall said he has not heard much from state officials about the future of state funding for counties.
“The state was waiting for the November elections,” he said. –David Pugh
Fulton County Sales Tax Revenue
November, 2009 $279,617.43
November, 2010* $486,780.23
Difference ($) +$207,162.80
Difference (%) +74.1%
Difference ($) +$1,303,853.11
Difference (%) +37.8%
Information provided by Fulton County Commissioners office. Figures represent sales tax revenue received by Fulton County from the Ohio Department of Taxation, for Fulton County’s 1.5% share of revenue generated by sales taxes on goods and services in Fulton County (*includes 1/2% implemented in January 2010). Monthly figure represents money received that month; year-to-date money received from Jan. 1 of that year through the month indicated. Archbold Buckeye chart.