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Thursday, November 16, 2023
Tyler Lowry, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-6630
Robin Ross, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-2392

Hearings got underway this afternoon for the county’s $2.2 billion annual budget with a presentation of the recommended budget by County Administrator Kenneth N. Wilson.  As the administrative arm of county government, the commissioners are responsible for setting the budgets for all of its 35 agencies and elected officials, including the 15 county agencies that report directly to them.  The commissioners will hear from the leadership of a number of county agencies over the course of several more hearings later this month, and then vote to approve the final 2024 budget on December 12th.
“Franklin County is in a strong financial position due to smart budgeting and aided by our community’s continued growth and development,” said County Administrator Wilson.  “I’m proud to present this balanced, forward-thinking, and progressive budget proposal for the commissioners’ consideration, and looking forward to continuing to work in 2024 to support all of our community’s residents.”
The county’s finances are divided into the General Fund and the All Funds budgets.  Most of the General Fund is made up of local tax revenue, and 56% of it goes to support justice and public safety initiatives such as the court system, county prosecutor’s office, sheriff’s office, and the public defender.  The proposed 2024 General Fund budget includes an expected 4% increase in revenues and an approximately 3% increase in expenditures.  The $2,178,754,609 All Funds budget includes the General Fund as well as federal funding and dollars from other sources, and approximately 40% of it is dedicated to social and human services.
“The residents of this great community are the reason behind everything that we do in Franklin County, and the commissioners are dedicated to serving each of them every day and to ensuring that all of our families have the support they need to succeed,” said Administrator Wilson.  “In the coming year, they can expect to see our team out in the community more than ever before, and we’re working to consolidate our outreach to make it even easier for Franklin County residents to connect with their county government and access the services that we provide.”
At today’s hearing, Wilson called attention to several new initiatives or investments that he’s recommending for 2024, including $3 million to support the Mid-Ohio Food Collective and its new Eastland Prosperity Center, $1 million to support the CHOICES domestic violence shelter, $5 million to help connect Franklin County homes to the county sanitary sewer system, $1 million for Franklin County Public Health, and $2 million to improve stormwater infrastructure.  He noted that sales and property tax collections, and investment income have been strong revenue sources for the county in 2023.
The administrator’s proposed budget this year also includes an $85 million “Rainy Day Fund” and expected cash reserves of about 40% of yearly General Fund expenses, which helps Franklin County continue to be one only about 2% of local governments nationwide with a double Triple-A bond rating.
The commissioners’ budget hearings are being streamed live via a link at the commissioners’ website and broadcast on the City of Columbus’ CTV television network.  Click here for more information about the recommended 2024 budget and the schedule of upcoming budget hearings.