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Miami County OKs 2018 budget, but tougher times predicted in 2019

Published: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 @ 11:41 AM
By: Nancy Bowman - Contributing Writer

Miami County commissioners approved the county’s 2018 appropriations, saying the county had a good year financially in 2017 but expects tighter days ahead.

The overall appropriations for all county funds totaled $93.25 million and $32.27 million in the general fund, according to the plan approved last week.

The appropriations increased 3.7 percent over those in 2017 and include a 2.5 percent raise for nonunion county employees whose pay comes from general fund accounts.

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Commission President Jack Evans said a projected loss of $850,000 in tax income from elimination of the sales tax on Medicare services would require continued diligent monitoring of finances.

“This will make the end of this year (2018) and 2019 a real challenge at this point,” he said. County Auditor Matt Gearhardt “will certainly keep an eye on the budget and make sure we continue to run as efficiently and as painless as we have in the past,” Evans said.

Commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien said that 53 percent of the general fund appropriations were for law enforcement, the courts and departments affiliated or working with them and 68 percent of the increase in appropriations was in those departments.

“It was a tougher budget this year than it has been in the past,” he said.

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The raise for employees was possible “because of the strong fiscal condition that we are currently in and the good year financially that we have had,” O’Brien said.

Commissioner Greg Simmons, noting this was his first year on the commission and in the budget process, thanked his fellow commissioners and staff for their help in answering his questions.

Among budget areas showing increases was the county coroner, where a 19 percent increase was noted. The coroner earlier this year said more dollars would be needed to cover the cost of autopsies because of more overdose deaths as well as an increase in costs from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, which does the county autopsies under contract.

As they do annually, the commissioners thanked other elected officials and department heads for their conservative approach to finances.

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