County expecting decrease in revenue

By Charlie Claywell - For The Register-Herald

EATON — During a Wednesday, Dec. 7 regular session, the Preble County Commissioners noted that the county, like all counties in the state, are expecting a reduction is state sales tax revenue next year.

“I went to a House hearing and the governor (John Kasich) went into the House yesterday morning (Tuesday, Dec. 6) and basically told them they needed to watch their spending because we are going into another recession,” Commissioner Chris Day said.

Day, along with the commissioners Rodney Creech and Denise Robertson, were in Columbus last week attending training sessions for public officials.

“I wish I believed him (Gov. Kasich),” Board president Creech said. “He’s probably saying we are going into a recession because he hates (president-elect Donald) Trump. I think we are going into the best times ever,” Creech said.

“It could be political,” Robertson added.

Kasich’s statement, as reported in state and national newspapers, appears to be based on the state’s declining revenue. So far in 2016, the state has received 2.8 percent ($259 million) less than projected. What this means at the local level is the county will likely experience a sizable reduction in sales tax income from Ohio.

The Ohio Taxation Department website shows that, through November, Preble County has received $5,285,850 in 2016 — putting it on track to match or exceed the $5,518,906 the county received in 2015. Over the past several years the county has mostly seen an increase, not a decrease, in this funding and the county currently receives about $1.1 million more annually than it did when Kasich took office in 2010.

But, with the amount now expected to drop as much as $600,000, this source of income will return to its 2012 level of about $4.9 million.

And, the reduction of income will likely impact future decisions.

As Robertson noted, “We don’t want to make decisions based on a rosy future if things are going to hit rock bottom.”

In other news, the commissioners:

• Voted 3-0 to put on hold a request from the Preble County Sheriff’s Office to add a 9-1-1 dispatcher to the staff.

• Noted that pipes insulated by asbestos inside the courthouse will be removed by an outside vendor. Once that task is completed, the county’s maintenance department plans to handle reinsulating the pipes.

• Affirmed dog license fees for 2017. Dog licenses can be purchased now through Jan. 31 for $14. If purchased after the renewal period, a $14 late fee is added to the cost.

• Approved $5,500 expenditure for a flyover photograph of the landfill.

• Noted receipt of Ohio EPA letter advising that the county’s landfill scrap tire procedures and processes passed inspection.

• Approved several 2017 expenditures for the Preble County Engineers Office including:

o Trash pickup agreement with Rumpke at a cost of $4,600.

o Janitorial services agreement with Carter Cleaning at a cost of $3,120.

o Overhead door maintenance agreement with Greenville Door Sales for $1,000.

• Approved a computer service agreement between the Probate Court and Henschen for $2,000.

By Charlie Claywell

For The Register-Herald