Mahoning commissioners approve $66M budget for 2019

Published: Fri, December 7, 2018 @ 12:02 a.m.

By Justin Dennis


Mahoning County commissioners approved next year’s general-fund appropriations at $37 million, with $29.3 million for the criminal justice fund.

Officials pared more than $2.75 million from each department’s 2019 budget requests to meet the mark – 2.6 percent less than requested from the general fund in 2018 and 5.7 percent less than from the criminal justice fund.

Commissioners last month also approved $172.9 million in nongeneral- fund appropriations, about $10.1 million less than certified for next year.

The county sheriff’s office, which receives the largest appropriation year to year, was budgeted about $22.6 million from the criminal justice fund, $1.2 million or about 5 percent less than requested.

Audrey Tillis, commissioners’ executive director, said Thursday a potential $210,000 and 2 percent raise for deputies included in the department’s request was removed and will be re-evaluated during union negotiations. Other utility-related increases also were cut.

The county elections board, Data Processing department and coroner’s office also were budgeted at between 11 percent and 13 percent lower than requested.

During the commissioners’ meeting Thursday, Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti said all department heads and elected officials worked together to balance the 2019 budget.

Commissioner David Ditzler added, “It’s always a difficult time making sure we control spending. A lot of people think government’s out of control. I’m proud to say we reduced our spending over the years considerably – both in employment and wages and in total wages and expenditures.”

Last month, Tillis said average payroll expenses are down 2.3 percent this year, compared with 2017. Health care expenses for each department are up about 4 percent, she said.

“We had a good year, and we have done things that have made this budget very adaptable,” Commissioner Anthony Traficanti said. “We’ve had peaks and valleys here, and we’ve been able to ride out those storms and have not seen reductions in services to the people of the [Mahoning] Valley.”

Commissioners appropriated $4.6 million to the county prosecutor’s office, which is about $414,000 or about 8 percent less than requested. Tillis said officials expect to review that budget again next year.

Officials are awaiting a permanent solution to the statewide loss of a tax on Medicaid-managed care organizations, which is costing the county about $4.7 million per year – 60 percent of which went into the justice fund.

“If it doesn’t, then we’ll address it,” Tillis said. “The county has been able to work through a lot of things.”

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