By JIM MAURER
The Hancock County commissioners continue to deal with a tight budget that is pinched by mandated expenses and declining sales tax revenue, Commissioner President Brian Robertson said during the board’s regular meeting Thursday.
He said the county is required to make a $500,000 payment for a child care program run by the county Department of Job and Family Services.
And as of May 31, county sales tax receipts are down about $90,000 this year compared with the same period in 2017.
In this year’s county budget, the commissioners did not fund nearly $850,000 in non-mandated spending that was requested by various departments
Also, the county has borrowed funds to cover state-required maintenance projects at the county jail to maintain the jail’s certification for housing county, city and out-of-the-area prisoners.
Findlay pays the county to house its prisoners.
The commissioners have appropriated more than $1.22 million for the jail work.
The county’s 2019 budget will be difficult to develop as reducing or eliminating funding for non-mandated programs will again have to be considered, Robertson has said.
Voters turned down a quarter-percent, 20-year additional sales tax last year, with nearly 75 percent of the vote against the tax. The tax would have generated $3.1 to $3.5 million annually and funded jail improvements, a jail expansion, and a county office building to consolidate county departments displaced by the 2007 flood.
The commissioners have taken no action on seeking an additional sales tax following the election results. Instead, Robertson said voters want the county “to live within our means.”
Separately Thursday, Robertson said several items were discussed Wednesday night during a countywide meeting of trustees from the 17 townships.
He said 10 of the 17 townships have zoning regulations, but there is no residential building code.
Robertson said adoption of amended subdivision regulations is being discussed, but “we need a higher standard,” than minimum building requirements.
Discussions on what those standards may be will continue, he said, with representatives of the county engineer’s office, township trustees, Hancock Regional Planning Commission and the commissioners.
Commissioner Tim Bechtol said the Wood County Building Department, which is contracted to oversee commercial development in Hancock County, supports implementation of a residential building code.
Separately, Bechtol said he attended a meeting of the Downtown Findlay Improvement District and was told the downtown area will be undergoing additional construction this summer as stamped concrete will be installed at the new mid-block crosswalks. Work will be done one block at a time, affecting one side and one lane at a time.
Separately, a contract with Zimmerman Paint Contractors Co., Fremont, for $45,950 to complete the annual county and township roads pavement marking program was approved by the commissioners Thursday.
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