Liberty officials get budgeting advice from state officials
By Samantha Phillips
Nita Hendryx, chief project manager with the Auditor of State’s office, advised the township trustees to develop a three-year forecast for their budget and be adamant about spending within their means.
Hendryx said her office is doing a fiscal analysis, and it’s possible the township could remain in fiscal caution or be elevated to fiscal watch or emergency.
Fiscal caution is declared in situations, including having an existing deficit-fund balance, that is greater than 2 percent of the general fund’s revenue for a particular year at year’s end.
Fiscal watch is declared in situations when total deficit funds exceed one-twelfth of the total general fund budget for a particular year.
Fiscal emergency is declared when there are conditions of the fiscal watch with the added requirement that the condition continues to exist for at least four months after the end of the fiscal year, or in situations where there is a default of payment on any debt obligation for more than 30 days.
The township has been in fiscal-caution status since 2011. Nine other local governments in Ohio are in fiscal caution, and five of those are townships, according to the state auditor’s website.
The trustees and administrator Pat Ungaro met Tuesday morning with Hendryx and Jim Shaw, East Regional liaison of the auditor’s office, and Tim Lintner, project manager of the auditor’s office, at the administration building.
Trustee Arnie Clebone believed having an educational meeting about budgeting and their state of fiscal caution would be beneficial as he and Trustee Greg Cizmar are new to the board.
The trustees are expected to develop their budget appropriations for this year in March.
Clebone said the residents he spoke with during his campaign seemed to perceive the township as having adequate funds, but not managing them responsibly, and he would like to explain to citizens what is happening with the budget.
“It’s good for us to have a thorough understanding of how this [budgeting] works, and we want the public to understand what’s happening with the budget,” Clebone said.