Commissioners approve 2016 budget

By Austin Schmidt -

EATON —The Preble County Board of Commissioners on Monday, Dec. 21, approved the budget for the 2016 fiscal year, with a $713,197.54 increase over 2015.

One reason for the increase is the county will pay its employees 27 pay periods instead of the normal 26 paid, because of the “Pay Period Leap Year” for 2016.

Commissioners estimated roughly $215,000 of the increase to be from the 27th pay period.

The total budget request applied for to the budget commission was $12,006,374.72 from the county’s 48 departments.

The largest percentage of increase comes from the Board of Elections, which saw its budget increase by 84 percent compared to last year.

According to commissioners, the reason for the increase in budget includes a three election year as the special election for John Boehner’s empty house seat will be held in June of this 2016.

Director of the Preble County Board of Elections Terry Hans explained the reason for the upgrades in an earlier interview, “The big item on the budget is the M-100 optical scanners,” Hans stated.

She added the department has had the current scanners since 2006 and they are “showing their wear and tear.”

Currently the department has 51 scanners but is looking to replace them with 36 new scanners since according to Hans; they are more efficient in counting votes. The county is also currently looking into options to have those machines reimbursed by the state, Hans said.

The Preble County Sheriff’s Office budget will increase by $300,440, a 7.66 percent increase from last year. $82,000 of the increase represents the 27th pay according to the commissioner’s office.

According to the commissioners the following changes were made:

The Sheriff’s Department will now feature a full-time jail major instead of splitting half of the salary with 9-1-1.

Approximately $46,700 represents the hiring of a courier to assist in transportation for Juvenile Court. That number includes salary and expected health insurance.

Juvenile court has agreed to pay $6,000 of the salary for the position.

An increase of $27,065 was added to annual maintenance.

The remainder of the increase is attributed to the union’s three percent increase, a 4.5 percent health insurance increase, additional overtime, unemployment charges, and an increase to technology costs.

According to commissioners the Preble County Coroner also increased its budget by $9,379, which includes the addition of two part time employees versus one full-time employee.

Other areas of increase according to commissioners include the following:

•$38,835 of the budget increase for a 4.5 increase to health insurance costs and a small increase in liability insurance for 2016.

•$60,941 of the increase for Soldiers Relief and Veterans Services and includes the 27th pay period and additional millage owed per the ORC according to commissioners.

•$46,000 added to general miscellaneous for carpet replacement and paving replacement at the Preble County Jail according to commissioners.

•$14,536 of the increase was to the County Commission which includes the 27th pay period and $10,000 for information technology.

•The county auditor’s office increased its budget by $22,323, which includes the 27th pay and salary adjustments to enter the Board of Preble County Commissioners Compensation Plan.

By Austin Schmidt

Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.

Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.