This afternoon, Franklin County Administrator, Kenneth N. Wilson, presented his proposed 2019 budget to the Franklin County Commissioners, kicking off the first of four planned budget hearings. The commissioners are the administrative arm of county government, and set the budget for all other offices, even those headed by independently elected officials. Selected county agencies will present to the commissioners during the hearings, and then a vote will be held on the 2019 budget on December 18th.
“This year’s budget is not flashy,” said Wilson. “But it is fiscally responsible, forward focused, and oriented toward the people of Franklin County. As always, we aim to provide the services that our residents expect while protecting the long-term finances of the county.”
In the proposed budget, General Fund spending would decrease by 1.8% from last year’s expected totals, with more than 56% of spending allocated to justice and public safety functions such as the courts and sheriff’s office. The county would expect to add to its cash reserves by about $5.5 million under this proposal.
Spending from all funds is proposed to increase by about 11.5%, reflecting the costs of building a new county jail and forensic science center. Forty-three percent of the All-Funds budget goes to human and social services such as Job and Family Services, ADAMH, the Office on Aging, the Board of Developmental Disabilities, and the Veterans Service Commission.
“The initiatives supported by the budget reflect our shared commitment to the residents of Franklin County,” said Wilson. “Whether it’s access to quality child care, opportunities for economic mobility for all people, maintaining public safety, or forward focused government operations.”
In his presentation, Wilson noted that Franklin County continues to benefit from Double Triple-A bond ratings, which saves taxpayers money by allowing the county to borrow at lower interest rates. For the first time this year, the county issued sales tax-backed revenue bonds, which also received a Double Triple-A rating, the first such rating in the nation for this type of bond issuance.
The budget proposed today includes ongoing funding for county programs such as Building Futures, which connects social services clients with apprenticeship opportunities in the building trades, and for on-site case managers to connect clients with services at the region’s hospitals, courts, and at Columbus State Community College. Funding will be expanded for smart justice initiatives aimed at diverting low-level offenders to needed services instead of jail, as well as for the county’s Sanitary Engineering Department. In 2018, the commissioners began a poverty initiative aimed at creating a community-wide plan to address the inequalities in our community, work that is ongoing.
“Our residents are why we do what we do,” said Wilson. “The commissioners and every county employee strive to ensure that our residents’ basic needs are met and that everyone has the opportunity to participate in our county’s growing economy. Every resident, every day.”
The proposed 2019 Franklin County Budget can be found at budget.franklincountyohio.gov.
2019 Budget Hearing Schedule:
- Monday, November 26th at 1:00 p.m.
- Tuesday, November 27th at 10:00 a.m.
- Wednesday, November 28th at 10:00 a.m.
- Monday, December 3rd at 1:00 p.m.