(Columbus, Ohio) Franklin County, like all local governments, is on the front lines, delivering essential services to the citizens of Ohio. Counties provide core services to all areas of the community, including employment training, senior programs, health and safety services, and providing water and sewer services. As local governments continue to absorb state and federal budget cuts as well as unfunded mandates, counties are forced to rely more heavily on the Local Government Fund (LGF) to continue to maintain basic services.
This afternoon, Governor Kasich released his budget proposal, and while the Governor increases general fund spending compared to the last biennium, his budget includes a 20-percent reduction in Local Government Funding in FY 2012 and nearly 50% in FY 2013.
Franklin County has already dealt with flat and reduced funding during the last five years, and the proposed reductions in the LGF place a disproportionate burden of state budget cuts on local governments.
In 2011, Franklin County will receive $23 million in Local Government Funds. The LGF is the third largest general revenue stream for Franklin County.
Sixty-seven percent of the county’s general fund budget is dedicated to providing public safety and justice programs. A 50% cut in LGF ($11 million) could not be absorbed by the remaining 33% of the general fund budget. The proposed cut would result in reductions in sheriff patrols to townships, a lower ratio of deputies to inmates in the county’s jail and staff reductions in county courts resulting in larger dockets with longer process times.
Franklin County’s budget - a real jobs budget - focuses on creating jobs and stimulating the local economy through the use of general fund revenues to support such entities as Columbus 2020, TechColumbus and Experience Columbus in their economic activities.
Franklin County also provides funding to key community partners such as the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, the Community Shelter Board, the Affordable Housing Trust, the Central Ohio Diabetes Association and the Physicians Free Clinic in order to assist in providing key services to the most vulnerable members of our community.
The cuts in LGF will not affect the double triple-A bond rating for Franklin County. We are disappointed by the news of the cuts but Franklin County will get through this.
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