State Auditor Predicts More Local Government Money Problems

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With budget cutting by the state, local governments in Ohio are pinching pennies.

But for some that won't be enough and money concerns will deteriorate into fiscal distress.

David Yost is Ohio's Auditor and he says, "I feel certain we will see additional entities slip into fiscal distress this year and continuing into next year because (of) Local Government Fund cuts."     

Jon Husted is Ohio Secretary of State.

He, too, is concerned about local government budget problems — for county Boards of Election in particular.

"Things are very tight," he says.  "There continue to be more and more demands of creating conveniences for voters but everytime you do that there's a cost."

Ohio townships, villages, cities and counties which run into serious financial difficulties could be placed on a "fiscal caution" list, then "fiscal watch" list if things get worse and "fiscal emergency" if they really get out of hand.

Auditor Yost says that last step triggers a receivership situation and appointment of a budget oversight commission.

Yost says if it should come to that – to receivership – his office would have an additional workload but is prepared to take that on if necessary.

Also willing to assist is Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

He says cost-conscious local governments can get crime-fighting help from the state.

"Local governments have more financial problems," he says.  "We're trying to assist them.  We have a unit, for example, that tries criminal cases.  We're seeing more of that."