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Summit County budget approved

12/13/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Board of Elections doesn’t submit request

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Council wrapped up the year by approving the county’s operating budget for 2013 during the Dec. 10 meeting.

Council adopted two pieces of legislation regarding the budget by a vote of 9-0, with Council members Nick Kostandaras (D-District 1) and Gloria Rodgers (R-District 3) absent. The 2013 budget total is $471,287,390, which is a decrease of 4.6 percent from the 2012 adjusted budget, according to information from the county department of Budget and Finance.

County officials also state that the county expects to see revenues increase 4 percent next year, mostly due to income from the state’s casinos.

Brian Nelsen, director of Finance and Budget, said putting the budget together continues to be a challenge, but many of the county officeholders are now accustomed to tightening their belts.

“This year, we’re still dealing with the effects of the recession, with property values down and the impact of state budget cuts, but we’re hoping we’ve reached a bottoming out of reductions,” Nelsen said. “Most of the officeholders’ operating budgets are flat with last year, and most reductions are pass-through dollars. We had a lot of cooperation with the officeholders in the process.”

He added the process went rather smoothly overall this year, but one county operation — the Board of Elections — did not submit a budget request. For 2012, the BOE was initially given a temporary budget because it and the county could not come to an agreement on a total needed.

After the BOE made reductions after the start of the year, the county eventually provided the office with a full budget, although it was less than requested.

For 2013, Nelsen said the county looked back at 2009 numbers, since the elections would be similar, and also kept in mind the precinct and staff reductions made by the BOE this year. The result is that the BOE has a budget of a little more than $4 million for the new year.

Nelsen added he expects the BOE to come forward in 2013 with a budget request, and “the dialogue will begin again.”

Also Monday, Council adopted on first reading a resolution adjusting appropriations in several funds to meet projected expenditures for the rest of the year, many of them salary related.

Nelsen told Council that in some cases an increase in retirements due to changes in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has led to an increased need for retirement payouts. He added that in Summit County Probate Court, some employees are leaving because of a change in officeholders. Republican Todd McKenney will be replaced by Democrat Elinore Marsh Stormer after the first of the year.

In addition, City Council members adopted a resolution that extends the deadline for Council to approve the 2013 Report on Staffing until Jan. 28 due to some questions about the report.

Council also adopted on first reading a resolution authorizing a contract with J&J Elite Transportation for the purchase of clay fill materials for basin restoration work in Hillside Estates in Copley Township and another location in the county for a total of $33,720.

County Council will recess for the holiday season and will next meet for Council’s annual organizational meeting Jan. 2 at 4:30 p.m., followed by committee meetings, in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.

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