Summit County Council has approved an operating budget of $471 million for all of the departments in the county for 2013 with one exception — the Board of Elections.
The elections board has not yet submitted a budget for next year, so a recommended budget of $4.1 million was approved Monday night based on 2009 figures — a like-election year incorporating a decrease in districts and staffing. Budget discussions with elections officials will likely continue until next year.
The county’s $471 million budget represents a 4.6 percent reduction from last year’s $494 million budget and is $100 million less than 2008’s budget.
“The year 2008 was the last year prior to the recession when everything dropped in terms of the economy and the impacts on county revenue, that was pre-recession, this budget is post-recession,” said Brian Nelsen, the director of finance and budget for the county. “It is what I would call the new normal, which is a much smaller budget and a much smaller county government.”
The biggest overall reduction in budget came from the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board and in the form of $18 million in pass-through money for Medicaid services. Instead of having the county distribute the funding, the state will be paying the recipients directly.
“The general fund budget was pretty flat compared to last year’s budget with a slight increase in employer health-care costs at 5.7 percent,” Nelsen said.
The county has nearly 3,000 employees, a 20 percent reduction from 3,600 employees in 2008 and a slight reduction of 25 workers from last year.
The biggest chunk of the money next year will go to the agencies that rely on levies. This represents 43 percent of the county’s budget.
Within the so-called general fund portion of the budget, the Sheriff’s Office will receive the most funding at $29.6 million. Funding for other departments includes: Common Pleas Court, $9.3 million with $2.5 on indigent attorney fees and grand jury costs; Domestic Relations, $2.5 million; Probate Court, $2 million; and Juvenile Court, $8.2 million.
“Thanks in large part to a slowly improving economy, operational efficiencies and casino revenue sharing, 2013 will mark the first time in six years that general fund revenue will increase,” said County Executive Russ Pry in a letter to council members. “Despite these improvements, our general fund revenue projections for 2013 are still less than the actual revenues collected by the county in 1999.”
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.