Miami County gives 4% raises, with budget solid, sales tax revenue up

ajc.com

TROY — The Miami County commissioners spoke with optimism about county finances as they approved the 2022 appropriations, which include a 4% pay increase for general fund employee accounts.

The salary increase follows a 3% increase in 2021 when commissioners asked elected officials to reduce budgets by 10 percent due to uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

County sales tax income continued to increase, though, from $18.7 million in 2019, to $20.5 million in 2020, and $21.0 million year-to-date for 2021.

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The 4% increase is for non-union employees. That increase will cost the county $404,768 in total salary and benefit increases for this year. The commissioners said it was possible due to financially conservative operations. The county’s union employees (sheriff’s office correction officers, secretaries and deputies, plus 911 tele-communicators) get 3% annual raises via contracts that started in 2020.

Several department leaders said this year that the county needs to increase employee pay given the competitive job market.

The general fund appropriations for 2022 were set at $42,850,281, an 8.7 percent increase over this year. Projected general fund income, which is set by the county budget commission and considered a conservative estimate, is listed at $31,728,993.

The appropriations for all funds was $117,606,884. Projected revenue this year was $99,566,633.

Among the largest accounts in the general fund are the sheriff’s department at $13.5 million; development department, $2.496 million; maintenance and operations, $2.278 million; municipal court, $1.694 million; commissioners contingency, $1.5 million; and commissioners administration, $3.386 million.

Commissioner Ted Mercer noted that the budget approval Dec. 7 was the earliest in December in a number of years. The county’s budget covers a calendar year.

“County government is a big business,” he said, thanking employees for their efforts.

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Miami County Administrator Charlotte Colley, who joined the county mid-year, said this was her first go-around with a county budget. She thanked staff and officials for their efforts in compiling the budget, a planning document, and appropriations, which make up the annual spending plan.

“We are looking forward to next year and moving things forward,” Colley said.

The commissioners also noted they are considering creating a capital improvement budget to separate the capital expenses from general operating costs. The 2022 budget includes several major capital projects, including a new One Stop Center for auto-related business including the auto title department, the BMV and related services.

Other projects in the works include a new fairgrounds administration building to house the fair board offices along with other agriculture-associated organizations such as OSU Extension and Soil and Water Conservation District offices. Improvements to the fairgrounds’ grandstand and utility infrastructure also are on the drawing board.

Work also continues at the historic county Courthouse, where an HVAC upgrade also is in the works.

A separate fund will hold money the county is receiving through the American Rescue Plan Act. The county is expected to receive more than $20 million in 2021 and 2022. A county team is exploring the best uses for that money, and commissioners are receiving frequent updates on the planning effort.

Copies of the complete budget are available for review at the commissioners’ and county auditor’s office.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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