LAKE COUNTY – Commissioner Dan Troy summarized some of the main items of concern in the proposed state budget at the Jan. 31 meeting of the Board of County Commissioners.
He said the County budget would lose about $1.7 million in revenue when collection of the Medicaid managed-care organizations sales tax ceases July 1. It is a major issue for the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO).
“I know the governor is recommending a 17 percent reduction in the state income tax rates, but then to finance that (he proposed) a one-half of one cent increase in the state sales tax, which is now 5.75 which will go to 6.25 (percent),” Troy said.
That increase could be a problem for the counties which are reliant on sales tax for their main source of revenue.
The budget includes a special formula to disburse about $150 million based on the counties’ reliance on sales tax compared to how much they rely on the tax revenue.
“It’s about 5 to 6 percent of our tax revenue; in some counties it’s 24 percent,” Troy said. “So apparently in that category we’re not going to score very well.”
The formula is also based on how much a county can increase its sales tax. For example, Lake County currently collects 1 percent of the allowed 1.5 percent. Other counties collect more or less.
The budget still needs to make it through various committees as well as the legislature for passage, he added.
Efforts to get the state to pay 50 percent of the cost for indigent defense have failed again as the budget proposes the state pay only 41 or 42 percent. If it was increased, the money would have to come from elsewhere in the budget.
“The administration is proposing a new distribution formula for the Local Government Funds, so that over 20 percent of the dollars allocated are based on the jurisdiction’s revenue capacity,” Troy said.
The change in distribution would not be immediate but rather over the next two years.
The distribution proposed is: counties – 37.3 percent; cities - 47.7 percent; those with income tax - 3.7 percent; those without income tax – 1.5 percent; and townships – 9.8 percent.
Troy said he was not sure how the new disbursement formula would actually work in Lake County since there was an agreement adopted in 1982 in which the Lake County Commissioners agreed to take only 11 percent of the Local Government Funds and disburse the rest to which they were entitled to the communities.
“We need to look at the governor’s proposal in terms of putting some more money into dealing with the opiate epidemic,” Troy said.
He concluded the commissioners need to be sure when they do the 2017 budget that items are not included which cannot be covered when the $1.7 million in Medicaid sales taxes are lost in 2018.
Commissioner John Hamercheck commented on his appointment to a CCAO committee.
“Apparently I’m now a JEDI,” he said, referring to the Jobs, Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee. “Thanks to Commissioner Troy walking me through the process, and being a good mentor, as a first-term, first-year, and this was my first choice, getting on that committee.”
He believes being on that committee will allow him to help the County with its underemployment issues in the future.
Passed Jan. 31:
• Increasing appropriations within LCDU various water and sewer and project accounts.
• Transferring cash and increasing appropriations for Hawthorne Woods Waterline Improvement Project 380-W.
• Authorizing execution of an agreement with Mannik & Smith Group, Inc. for the Lake County Department of Utilities.
This is for engineering, surveying and hydrogeological support for the Lake County Solid Waste Facility.
Costs are $4,800 for annual reports; $19,500 for site surveys; $49,000 for permit compliance; $88,500 for engineering support; $27,000 for initial five-year landfill development plans; $16,500 for landfill gas monitoring reporting; $25,500 for groundwater regulatory assistance; $49,000 for groundwater semi-annual reporting; and $10,500 for GW well abandonment for a total of $290,300.
• Awarding a bid contract in the amount of $58,887.40 to Davis Diggers, Inc. for Henry and River Street Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Improvement Project 376-S.
JOB AND FAMILY
• Appointing Robert J. Dawson to the Lake County Workforce Development Board and to request certification of the Board.
Dawson of Concord Township is with the Middlefield Banking Company.
• Re-Appointing Sandra F. Coffee as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lake County Library District, for a seven-year term commencing Feb. 3 and ending Feb. 2, 2024.
• Approving payment of bills as listed on the commissioners' approval journal in the amount of $1,307,377.29.
• Approving purchase orders as listed on the commissioners' purchase order approval journal in the amount of $826,495.80.
• Increasing and decreasing appropriations for various general and non-general fund accounts.
• Transferring cash and appropriations within various general and non-general fund accounts.
• Job and Family Services Director Matt Battiato recognized JENNY CRAFT who has worked for Lake County for 30 years. She was retiring from the Child Support Enforcement Division.
“In Lake County we’ve been very, very successful and part of that is due to JENNY CRAFT,” said Debra Wernick, child support administrator. “She’s been around (in LCJFS) for 17 years. She’s been a trainer; she’s been a hearing officer; she’s been a supervisor; she’s been an invaluable part of our whole division and she is going to be missed.”
• Lisa Siciliano-Miller, director of the OSU Extension Office in Painesville, introduced Tom deHaas, the new agricultural / natural resource educator.
“It was an opportunity for me to blend two of the things that I love—working with people and educating—and then also working with horticulture, which was what my undergrad was at Ohio State,” deHaas said.
He noted the horticultural industry in Lake County brings in about $87 million in sales and provides work for about 1,300 workers according to the last survey which was done.
Besides working with the industry, he will also oversee the Master Gardener program.
• The commissioners adjourned to executive session to discuss personnel – collective bargaining.
• Meetings are held in the Commissioners' Chambers of the Lake County Administration Building, 105 Main St., Painesville. All meetings are open to the public. Requests to address the government board may be made at any board meeting or presented to the Commissioners' Office by calling (440) 350-2753.
There was a meeting Feb. 9. The next regular meetings will be Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 16 at 10 a.m.