Pickaway County Revenues Increase, But Cuts Still Required

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Though sales tax revenue is projected to be up for the 2014 year, county officials will be looking to trim $810,000 from department requests for 2015, according to reports offered at the county budget meeting held Tuesday at the Brooks-Yates School.

Sales tax revenue in 2013 was $6,583,000 and is projected to be $7 million in 2014.

"It's nice to see where we have been and where we are going, and we are pretty much going in the right direction for now," said Jay Wippel, Pickaway County Commissioner.

The tax budget requests from county department heads, however, total $15.26 million, compared to projected receipts of $14.45 million.

Wippel said there will need to be changes made to finalize the county's budget to reduce the requests by $810,000.

"We have some work cut out for us between now and December," Wippel said.

Brian Stewart, county commissioner, also discussed the state of Ohio's economy at Tuesday's meeting, reporting an unemployment rate of 5 percent as of June 2014.

Unemployment was 5.3 percent through May, he said, which is down from 9.2 percent in January 2013.

Stewart credited new jobs in the area for the drop in the unemployment rate from employers such as DuPont, Aleris Rolled Products, Tri Mold LLC, FPE, Berger Health System and Healthcare Logistics.

"We are still improving at a slower pace than previous economic recessions," Stewart said. "We are still being cautious if this is normal."

Commissioner Harold Henson reviewed the county's capital fund at the meeting, reporting that the commissioners funded all 2014 capital projects totaling $412,000.

Projects completed include final courthouse renovations, IT upgrades, replacing the roof at the county jail, HVAC at Memorial Hall, upgrading the countywide tornado warning system, purchasing two cruisers for the sheriff's office and a computer system at the courthouse.

Henson said the remodel of the commissioners' office recently discussed has been put on hold.

Possible projects for 2015 include the replacement of county parking lots, computer upgrades, concrete replacement around the county, county vehicle replacements and more IT upgrades.

A 2 percent wage increase was also approved this year for all general fund employees.

"We thought it was the right thing to do," he said. "People sacrificed for a couple years."

Henson said every increase in a paycheck adds up to $122,000 for the year.

"Everything seems to be going well, and we seem to be on track and appreciate everyone's hard work," Henson said.