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Budget Commission Meets, Reviews Local Budgets
David Thomas
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Budget Commission Meets, Reviews Local Budgets

Budget Commission Meets, Reviews Local Budgets

 

Jefferson- It is budget time in Ashtabula County for public entities. A meeting of the Ashtabula County Budget Commission saw a review of 58 local government budgets spanning parks, libraries, cities, ambulance districts, townships, and more. Members of the Commission include by statute Auditor David Thomas, Treasurer Angie Maki-Cliff, and Prosecutor Colleen O’Toole.

“We’re the entity which stands between the tax payer and the tax spender to ensure a need for tax revenue passed by the voters in-between ballot voting,” shared Auditor David Thomas. Each year the Budget Commission receives anticipated revenue and expenses from all local entities to justify the property tax levy dollars being assessed by those governments for the following year.  

According to Thomas, the Budget Commission’s role is to be a check on local entities between times when the voters have the ability to vote to renew or change levies and revenues. “We get the budget and look at anticipated expenses for the following year. Does the entity’s expenses and current cash in the bank justify the need of taxpayer dollars in the following year is what we ask for each budget,” explained Auditor Thomas.

The Budget Commission has the authority to decrease for one year any levy they feel is not needed by a local government in the following year for operations. In past years the Commission met with entities to discuss spending strategies or reserve accounts if the Commission believe a government had too much cash on hand.

“Often with bond issues for example where there is a certain amount needing to be collected, the Commission will work with the entity to voluntarily decrease millage,” said Auditor Thomas. “We also have had some local townships agree to decrease their fire levy or cemetery levy recently because of excess funds and them not needing levy dollars in the following year.”

For the first time recently in 2020 the Budget Commission held formal hearings to vote on a one year forced reduction of millage, however the Commission voted 2-1 against lowering .5 mills of the Ashtabula County Board of Developmental Disabilities (ACBDD). Budget Commission members former Treasurer Dawn Cragon and former Prosecutor Cecilia Cooper wished to give ACBDD more time to spend and budget dollars before reducing millage.  

Current Budget Commission members at their 2022 meeting voted to approve 54 local government budgets. Dorset Township and the Orwell Joint Recreation’s budget had yet to be received. Additionally, Commission members wished to table the ACBDD and Rock Creek Cemetery budgets to meet with those entities to discuss their 2023 budgets due to carry over concerns.

“Overall we are seeing the result of local entities having more cash due to the federal COVID money but also having more expenses with the inflationary impacts,” stated Auditor Thomas.

During the meeting Treasurer Angie Maki-Cliff discussed the option many local governments have to invest in a State of Ohio program called Star Ohio. “Entities can get a better return on those investments by using the state than they could though just a normal savings account,” shared Treasurer Maki-Cliff. “This is one of the investment strategies we use for the county and I’ll be happy to help any local entity learn more.”

 

(Pictured are members of the Ashtabula County Budget Commission Auditor David Thomas, Treasurer Angie Maki-Cliff, and Local Budgets Staff Member Kris Paolillo. Not pictured is Prosecutor Colleen O’Toole.)

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Contact Us

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(F) 440-576-3797

auditor@ashtabulacounty.us

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