Commissioners approve 2013 operating budget

By Kristin Bednarski
Sun staff

Clermont County Commissioners approved the 2013 general fund operating budget Dec. 5.

Sukie Scheetz, director of the office of management and budget, said commissioners worked to reduce appropriations by $1.5 million from the original appropriations of nearly $50 million.

“We made cuts and adjustments across all operating funds,” Scheetz said.

Scheetz said the 2013 general fund operating appropriations commissioners passed was $48,358,515 for the departments in the county including criminal justice, judicial services, public safety, health and human services and more.

Scheetz said those established expenses are also less than what was approved, and spent, in 2012.

She said they did not balance the budget in 2012 and had to tap into the fund balance.

“The new board gave us the directive to try and get us back in balance,” Scheetz said about the 2013 budget.

Scheetz said they began working with the different programs and departments to reduce expenses.

“We took advantage of staffing changes,” Scheetz said.

Scheetz said they did not fill many positions that opened up from employees retiring or leaving the county.

She said they also asked departments to take expenses back to the 2011 actual level. She said that meant reducing projected expenses in 2013 to what they actually spent in 2011.

“I gave them a target,” Scheetz said. “We had meetings if they felt like they couldn’t make that target.”

Scheetz said other significant reductions totaling more than $200,000 for 2013 include reductions at the board of elections because 2013 is not a presidential election year, utility savings costs at county facilities, and a reduction in veterans’ assistance at the Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission.

Scheetz said they will continue to update appropriations throughout the year, especially when they have a better idea of revenue that will come in.

Scheetz said a big question mark that remains is how much revenue they will receive from new casinos that are being built in the area.

She said with the reductions and additional economic development and non-operating revenue expected to come in, she is projecting that they will come out ahead.

“General fund revenue and economic developments will go up,” Scheetz said. “We’re going to grow our fund balance a little next year.”