Expenses, typical called income gap for mid-year projections

MANSFIELD – Richland County commissioners are to reduce proposed general fund spending requests for 2022 by 13% to match forecast revenues. The commissioners also said the county’s revenues could increase due to the economic recovery following the easing of restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Figures presented Thursday at the county’s annual mid-year planning budget hearing show spending requests of $ 41,063,621 and estimated revenues of $ 36,136,666. Commissioner Tony Vero said the 13% difference between the two figures was not new.

“This is a review at the start of the year and during the process income usually increases in conversations with the county auditor, who is very conservative, and this is just a list of wishes, ”he explained.

During the mid-year budget review for the same period in 2020, revenues were estimated at $ 32,567,699 while expenses were projected at $ 37,521,586. The county ended 2020 with a general fund carry-forward balance in 2021 of just under $ 1.5 million.

Vero said there was no “astronomical” increase in any general fund budget request. He also said sales tax revenue followed well this year, including a 50% increase in May from the same time last year at the start of the pandemic when restrictions and closures were in place. . Interest income on dormant county funds is expected to be around $ 900,000 this year, down 50% from $ 1.9 million in 2019.

County investment profits down in first quarter

Investment income and the post-pandemic economic recovery were the main topics when Richland County Commissioners and Treasurer Bart Hamilton met with financial adviser Jim McCourt of Meeter Investment Management for a mandatory quarterly advisory board meeting. county investment to review the figures for the first three months. of 2021. Hamilton said interest income was $ 316,000, down $ 95,000 for the quarter. The county hopes to earn $ 800,000 for the year.

Hamilton told the board that interest rates have “fallen” in the past year, with STAR Ohio only hitting a 0.08% rate of return and county investments with Meeter on average. 0.918% on investments with an average duration of 884 days. STAR Ohio is a local government-only market fund investment pool that is managed by the office of the state treasurer.

McCourt said the extremely low inflation rates of a year ago and supply constraints and product shortages are affecting the economy right now, causing prices to rise as global economies open up. again. “The authorities regard this surge in inflation, at this time, as transitory,” he said. “The Fed thinks right now that it will be more temporary, which means it doesn’t yet feel the need to end an overheating economy by raising interest rates because it thinks these factors will come together. reinstall. a more normal range.

McCourt said he expects inflation to drop from 7% to 2% by next year, with the Federal Reserve set to call for two interest rate hikes in 2023, based on the recovery rate, the rate rising to 2.5% “in the long run.”

One unknown is how federal funds from the American Recovery Act will affect the recovery. The county recently received half of its allocation of $ 23.4 million and must have the funds committed to projects in four years and spent in six years.

Hamilton said it would depend on allowances spent. “I think if it’s spent on things like water supply and things that are going to last a long time, it will be good for the economy,” he said. “But if it’s not spent that way, it’s going to be a mess. This is my personal opinion.

Commissioners renew contracts, publish proclamation

In other cases, commissioners have approved renewals of administrative and program contracts with Job and Family Service and Youth and Family Council for services including JFS office security, the Language Line for mastery services. limited English, document disposal, adult protection services and gas vouchers. Other contracts were for works contracts under the Workforce Investment Opportunities Act and a Medicaid grant for placements for the treatment of multiple symptoms for children involved in juvenile court. , children’s services and Richland Newhope.

The council also approved a proclamation declaring the week of June 21 to 25 “Amateur Radio Week”. The proclamation recognizes the 600 ham radio operators in Richland County who provide emergency communications locally and around the world.

Local operators who were on hand for the proclamation pointed out that amateur radio operators helped during a recent tornado emergency in Dayton, disasters in Puerto Rico and the tornado in Shelby several years ago. This year’s annual American Radio Relay League Field Day exercise will take place from 2 p.m. Saturday to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Richland County Fairgrounds and is free and open to the public.

More than 400,000 amateur radio operators around the world participated in the event in 2020.

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