Defiance County commissioners approved the county’s special funds for 2023 during their meeting Thursday.
Commissioners also discussed contract details concerning the construction in Hicksville of a new communications tower for emergency radio operations (see related story).
The county’s 2023 special funds total $75,775,061, which is 5.5% less than the 2022 amount.
One reason is accounting for the county’s portion of promised federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. While the budget amount in 2022 was $7,329,674 — representing the total amount given to the county over more than one year — the 2023 figure is $3,936,794.
Another fund helping account for the difference between 2022 and 2023 amounts is marked “engineering construction-federal.” This fund holds Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) money received for certain highway projects.
The amount will go from $3,534,000 — reflecting major bridge work on Hopkins Street in Defiance and on Harding Road — to $2,150,000. (This year’s major OPWC-funded projects will be paving work and replacing a bridge on Evansport Road.)
The largest special fund ($23,780,028) remains by far the county landfill on Canal Road.
The amount here for 2023 is a considerably increase over 2022 figure ($21,216,651). But this does not represent planned additional spending, but reflects the addition of unencumbered funds generated in 2022, according to Defiance County Engineer Warren Schlatter who manages the landfill.
The heavily regulated landfill had an exceptional year in 2022, breaking records for sales and intake measured in cubic yards, and realizing a profit of nearly $1.35 million, thus increasing the above fund.
Asked if this could allow a landfill rate reduction, Schlatter said that conversation has been had, but officials decided that it would only put off the inevitable.
“We know we’re going have to raise rates (eventually),” he said. “Do we lower them now or leave them alone? … This delays the time we need to raise them.”
A related, but separate account (“enterprise funds”), totals $7,035,434, constituting the landfill’s Ohio EPA-required closure and post closure funds to be used to maintain the facility after it closes. This figure is slightly higher than the 2022 amount ($6,927,910).
Almost as large is an account called “roads, bridges, culverts” totaling $6,833,592 and slightly less than the 2022 amount ($6,841,581).
This fund covers operation of the county engineer’s office and highway department, responsible for maintaining county roads and bridges. It relies heavily on motor vehicle license fees and the state gas tax, which is assessed to motorists when they purchase gasoline.
Also set aside for 2023 is $3,171,820 for the county senior services agency, a 10.7% increase from the 2022 budget $2,456,186.
A large share of the agency’s funding is provided by a 1.4-mill, five-year senior services levy approved by all county voters on more than one occasion.
Many of the special funds have their own revenue sources, unlike the county’s general fund which depends considerably on county sales tax receipts. The 2023 general fund ($16,712,105.27) was approved by commissioners in December.
Some of the other special funds which changed significantly from 2022 to 2023 include the community development block grant amount ($3,524,748 to $6,114,161), the internal service fund for county employee health insurance (from $5,708,554 to $4,466,410), the county’s child support enforcement agency (from $879,835 to $1,031,277) and the budget stabilization fund (from $400,000 to $1 million).
Other major special funds for 2023, with 2022 appropriation amounts in parentheses, include:
• capital projects, $3,801,708 ($3,669,503).
• debt service, $2,318,775 ($2,748,887).
• ditch maintenance, $1,707,520 ($1,591,441).
• E911 communications center, $1,723,199 ($1,476,881).
• sanitary sewer district, $1,300,000 ($1,038,926).
• real estate assessment fund, $685,496 ($571,374).
• certificate of title administration, $624,427 ($537,376).
• county lodging tax, $550,068 ($505,213).
• common pleas court probation, $535,528 ($517,921).
• revolving loan fund, $534,321 ($385,203).
• motor vehicle/gasoline tax, $515,612 ($499,938).
• housing revolving loan fund, $442,312 ($328,137).
• solid waste district, $405,095 ($384,903).
• juvenile probation placement fund, $367,975 ($358,748).
• dog and kennel (county dog warden), $281,470 ($217,781).
• county planning commission, $266,262 ($311,637).
• community control supervision, $245,900 ($274,922).
• TCAP, $215,065 ($278,793).