By JIM MAURER

STAFF WRITER

Hancock County commissioners hope to have the 2019 budget completed in the next few weeks.

County Auditor Charity Rauschenberg said the budget commission has approved $25.7 million in revenue for next year, and the county has budgeted $23.6 million, which leaves about $2.1 million not appropriated.

Additional revenues and additional expenses are possible throughout the year which have to be accounted for and require changes to the financial document.

Also, the commissioners usually use a carryover to handle early year expenses, such as payroll, until tax revenues begin to be allocated to the county and other taxing districts, such as schools and villages.

This year the county anticipates about $2.5 million carryover into 2019 to cover those early year expenses.

Separately, the commissioners received bills in November for more than $188,018 for work done by Helms Construction, Findlay, on the Blanchard River “benching” project and more than $4,950 from the Maumee Watershed Conservancy District.

A memorandum of understanding between the county and the conservancy district allows the district to oversee the project and billing. The project, which will cost about $6.1 million, will cut into a portion of the north side of the river bank, remove the ripple dams and allow flood waters to rise more slowly. The work began in the fall. It’s anticipated the project will reduce flooding in the downtown area by about a foot.

The commissioners also agreed to have the county auditor, county engineer, representatives from Hancock Soil and Water Conservation District, and the prosecutor’s office meet to discuss assessments for stream enhancement projects along Ottawa and Eagle creeks.

Doug Cade, interim county engineer, said state law doesn’t allow an assessment for less than $2 per parcel.

The amounts were expected to be completed in September so the auditor’s office can include the amounts on real estate tax bills, which will be sent out after Jan. 1, Rauschenberg said. The county treasurer’s office is responsible for collecting the taxes.

Separately, dog owners have been notified by mail of license renewals for their pets, Rauschenberg said. The licenses are available from the auditor’s office through Jan. 31. The $20 renewal per animal more than 3 months old, can be mailed or completed online. There is an additional $2.50 fee for online renewals, which are payable by credit card. There is also a $20 late fee, if received after Jan. 31.

Maurer: 419-427-8420

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