Guernsey County commissioners learned Monday that budget requests by elected officials and offices funded through the county's general fund could result in an estimated $2.1 million shortfall next year.
The information regarding the budget requests, next year's estimated revenue and the resulting shortfall was shared with commissioners by Budget and Fiscal Manager Brenda Mourer during the first phase of budget planning for the 2022.
"We are in the same ballpark this year as we were last year at this time," said Mourer.
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In February, commissioners approved a $15.8 million budget for 2021, with a $1.7 million carryover from the county's reserves.
"Thankfully, our revenue has come in very strong and our expenses have not maxed out to what was anticipated, so we are not touching our cash balance by that amount," said Mourer.
The 2021 budget reflected a 3% increase from the $15.3 million budget in 2020.
The county's estimated carryover from 2021 to 2022 available for appropriation is estimated to be $7.5 million, according to Mourer.
Revenue next year is estimated to be $14.8 million with $16.9 million in budget requests for the year.
"That is actually an increase of $754,821 over what our estimate for this year was," said Mourer of the protected revenue. "So, we did have an increase. We looked at some of the revenue streams that we feel are going to be stronger ... we can count on those to come in as strong as they have been trending."
Mourer said only eight departments show a request reduction from the 2021 requests.
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Those funds with reduction include computer services, $98; vital statistics, $600; Guernsey County Common Pleas Court, $13,162; Common Pleas Court Probation, $7,285; Board of Elections, $28,326; courthouse security, $2,898; veteran's services, $28,330; and contingencies, $34,664.82.
Mourer also covered some of the factors of the increased requests for 2022 including a electronic-monitoring program through the Cambridge Municipal Court, elimination of the Victims of Crime Act funding for the prosecutor's office and the purchase of a new vehicle by the juvenile court.
She also discussed potential funding increases for the Guernsey County Sheriff's Office — the largest budget among county agencies exceeding $4 million — due to a contract with another agency for investigative services, staffing and new radios and body camera fees for the jail.
Mourer will continue to meet with commissioners this month to review ways the county could close the gap between budget requests and estimated revenue in hopes of passing a temporary 2022 budget by the end of this year.
In other business, commissioners:
Met with Cambridge Mayor Tom Orr, Councilman Tim Evancho and Auditor Suellen Johnson in executive session regarding a contract with the city. No action was taken by commissioners following the meeting.
Approved a supplemental pay increase from $22.62 per hour to $23.58 for Guernsey County Department of Job and Family Services Director Kathy Jamiel. A base salary established by the State of Ohio remained unchanged.
Approved a satisfaction of mortgage for a property at 170 Greenbrier Drive in Byesville.
Guernsey County commissioners meet on Mondays and Wednesday in the County Administration Building at 627 Wheeling Ave. in downtown Cambridge. Call the office, 740-432-9200, to be placed on the agenda or for more information.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Jeffersonian: Guernsey County facing potential $2.1M general fund shortfall for 2022