Common Staff Writer
Scioto County Treasurer Bill Ogg is reporting that real estate taxes in the county are up more than $615,000 compared to revenue collected in the first half of 2011.
Ogg said his office took in $24,382, 294.51 in first half real estate taxes for 2012.
Compared to 2011 numbers the county was up more than $128,700.43 over original budget estimates.
When asked what he attributed the increase to Ogg said, “Mark Kuhn’s (Scioto County Prosecutor) office has stepped up and dedicated some more resources to help collect delinquent taxes. Some of their work in included in that total also.”
He said around 92 percent of those eligible currently pay their tax bills.
“When you get tax bills that are years and years old, they just keep getting bigger and bigger. That’s what Mark’s office is helping us to go after. You’re never going to collect at 100 percent,” Ogg said. “With Mark dedicating more resources, we have been working together and that has been part of the solution.”
Ogg explained the taxes paid this year are 2012 taxes.
“We allow people to split the bill in half, paying the first half and for the second half we will send out bills the first week of June with a due date of July 19,” Ogg said.
This news comes on the heels of the recent announcement that the county could be out of its fiscal emergency status by the end of the year.
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.
At a recent meeting of the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission, it was also made know the county has no negative fund balances.
“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,” Hanrahan said.
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 these measures are taken to ensure the county is in better shape when the fiscal emergency status is lifted.
She said another requirement to have the status lifted is to have 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.
During the meeting Mike Crabtree, Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners, asked approval to proceed with several projects.
The projects include an expenditure of $99,990 to replace the roof on the courthouse.
The commission also approved the expenditure of $26,000 for the installation of security fencing around a portion of the Scioto County Jail. They also approved the expenditure of $55,000 in expenses related to setting up an office for Fourth District Court of Appeals Judge Marie Hoover.
To pay for the projects Crabtree said the county set aside $250,000 dollars in 2013 in debt reduction that will not have to be used and the projects will be paid for using those funds.
Another meeting for the Scioto County Financial Planning and Supervision Commission has not been set, while work continues to bring the county out of finical emergency status with the state auditor’s office.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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