This morning, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the county’s 2019 budget, which County Administrator Kenneth N. Wilson says will keep the county on a stable path, protect its finances, and reflects the commissioners’ commitment to the residents of Franklin County. “Whether it’s access to quality childcare, opportunities for economic mobility, maintaining public safety or health services,” said Wilson, “our residents’ concerns are our concerns. And the commissioners are focused on the dual goals of protecting the county’s resources and meeting the needs of a growing community.”
The county commissioners oversee 14 county agencies directly, and set the budget for all other agencies and elected offices as well. The 2019 General Fund budget totals nearly $461 million, but is still almost 2% less than 2018 expenditures, and will allow the commissioners to set aside $5 million for contingencies, bringing the county’s cash reserves to more than $196 million. This fiscal prudence helps the county to remain one of only a small percentage of local governments that maintains a Double Triple-A bond rating. As usual, more than 56% of the General Fund budget, which is made up mostly of taxes and fees, is budgeted to justice and public safety purposes such as the courts and sheriff’s office.
“Keeping the county’s finances in order is of utmost importance,” said Board President Kevin L. Boyce. “It ensures that the county’s resources are being used effectively and to achieve our desired impact of providing the best possible quality of life for each of our residents.”
The county’s 2019 All Funds budget totals more than $1.7 billion, nearly forty-three percent of which funds social services agencies such as Job and Family Services, ADAMH, the Office on Aging, the Board of Developmental Disabilities, and the Veterans Service Commission. The All Funds budget includes the General Fund as well as monies that come largely from state and federal grants.
“This budget lives up to our responsibility to serve every resident, every day,” said Commissioner Marilyn Brown. “We strive to create a strong, safe, and sustainable community by providing services and resources for residents at every stage of life.”
Unusually, the 2019 budget contains no allocation for the Board of Elections, though the money for operations of the county’s elections agency has been set aside pending the signing of a memorandum of understanding by the commissioners and members of the Board of Elections. The Board of Elections refused to spend money that its members had requested in 2018 for voter education, so the commissioners have asked them to commit to spending the money in next year’s budget for the purposes for which it has been allocated.
“We’ve done non-partisan voter outreach in this county for more than a decade to help people to know things like where and when they can vote early, and what the ID requirements are,” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “Next year, we’re rolling out $12 million in new voting machines with an entirely new operating system and way of voting, so voter education will be even more important than ever.”
The complete budget and more information can be found at budget.franklincountyohio.gov