PDT Staff Writer
When the Scioto County Financial Planning and Supervision Commission met last week details were given on what it would take to get the county out from under its fiscal emergency status.
Sharon Hanrahan, Financial Planning Administrator for the Ohio Office of Budget and Management and Chairwoman of the Scioto County Financial Planning and Supervision Commission, said the county could be out from under the fiscal emergency status imposed by Ohio Auditor of State’s Office by the end of the year.
“I have this feeling, and in most cases it’s a general feeling of any commission, is that 99 percent of the reason why these commissions are convened is because there are fund deficits somewhere. Well, there are no (longer) fund deficits (in Scioto County),” Hanrahan said. “This does not mean Scioto County is out of this emergency, there is an actual process that needs to take place. The county has addressed what brought them into fiscal emergency, deficit fund balances.”
She said the Ohio Revised Code outlines specific guidelines and requirements for municipalities to be relived of the fiscal emergency status.
“One of the requirements is that no new fiscal emergency conditions occur since you were put in fiscal emergency. You pay your bills and among other things,” Hanrahan said.
She said a report on the county’s accounting methods has been submitted to Auditor of State’s Office for review.
Chris McCoy of the Auditor of State’s Office said a report on the county’s accounting methods has been sent to Columbus for review.
“We have been down here (Scioto County) trying to address some of the comments made on the report,” McCoy said.
Hanrahan said these measures are taken to ensure the county is in better shape when the fiscal emergency status is lifted.
She said another requirement is five-year budget projection for the county.
“It’s hard enough to do it (budget projects), let alone five. We don’t expect it (the five-year budget projections) to be right on, we realized they are estimates. What is most important to that five-year forecast is its assumptions,” Hanrahan said.
McCoy said that 2014 information has started to be collected from each of the county departments. He expects to start work on the five year projections by the end of summer.
“Is Scioto County healthier than when it went in (to fiscal emergency status)? Absolutely. Is Scioto County out of fiscal emergency? Absolutely not. Not until it meets the criteria in the revised code,”Hanrahan said. “Eventually, after they meet the criteria the determination analysis from the auditors has to occur. I was realistically thinking about the end of this calendar year. What that says to me is that we’re not off the hook yet.
No future meetings of the Scioto County Financial Planning and Supervision Commission has been scheduled.
Hanrahan said the commission would need to call a special meeting to consider any debt obligations the county would incur.
“Yes, things are a lot better but we still have this label and because we have it, we still have to work with it,” Hanrahan said.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org