October 11, 2012
PDT Staff Writer
Scioto County is in the black.
At a meeting of the Scioto County Recovery Committee Thursday, it was announced that the ending balance as of Oct. 1, is $1,040,527.95. More importantly, the deficit created by the Juvenile Detention Center, which has been a millstone around the committee’s neck, will be eliminated.
“The Commission approved the commissioners transferring the remaining balance of the debt on the Juvenile Center of $577,611.41,” Scioto County Commission Chairman Skip Riffe said. “Of course we got the Amended Certificate today, and that all has to be appropriated properly. But once that is appropriated the transfer of $577,611.41 will go into the Juvenile Detention Center fund, and that debt will be eliminated. There will no longer be a deficit in that fund. So in essence, the County and the General Fund have been operating in the black now for a little over a year. So once that transfer is done Scioto County will be totally in the black.”
The Committee was formed when Scioto County became the first county in the state to be placed in “fiscal emergency” status.
At the same meeting, the Committee also approved the 2013 recovery plan, which shows a projected General Fund total of $15,547,634.02. Committee Chairwoman Sharon Hanrahan, of the State Auditor’s Office, reminding those present that a five-year projection is required. Riffe said that could take some time, but he is confident it will get done.
“I hope it doesn’t take very much time because I’d like to see the County released as quickly as possible,” Riffe said. “The big part of it is done. The big part of it is out of the way.”
Riffe was obviously happy with the latest figures.
“It makes me feel elated, relieved, and just happy,” Riffe said. “Happy for, not just the Commissioners, but the county as a whole. With the cooperation we’ve had from the office-holders, although we had a little hiccup here a month or so ago, we can deal with it, everyone has completely cooperated and done what they had to do to live within the amount that they were budgeted. We have had to make some adjustments here and there, things have come up, but fortunately we’ve had that flexibility to adjust and fixed it.”
The “hiccup” referred to was when Juvenile/Probate Judge James Kirsch announced he was giving his employees raises. Chris McCoy of the State Auditor’s Office said Kirsch has told him he will be able to handle the raises within funds available.
“The only thing I would say is that it is up to the rest of the folks in the county to keep their budgets in line,” Hanrahan said. “I’m not going to pose it at all. The only thing I would say, is again, it’s up to the rest of the folks in the county to keep their budgets in line. We’ve already taken someone (Kirsch) to task, and I don’t have any problems at all taking other people to task, if they can’t stay within their means.”
Riffe cautioned that budgeting the future of the county is a fluid task.
“We still have some work to do,” Riffe said. “But we have done this in less than three years. I think that surprised everyone including the state people that have been involved. It’s hard to explain, but the revenue has just been exceptionally good these past two or three years.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org