Posted by Kate Oatis - email
They did it, Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown said, without sacrificing services. "We're just being extra frugal and extra conservative in scaling back so we don't have to be in the position of asking our citizens to pay more in this economy for their current government services."
Wood County did spend more than it took in in tax revenue -- $2.5 million more. Though the county does have a cash balance in the bank of about $10 million, the commissioners are very aware those funds aren't unlimited.
"We've got to shrink that gap and get our revenues closer to our expenditures," Brown said.
One way the county is doing that is by cutting off pay increases.
"We did a poll of other counties in northwest Ohio to see what they were able to do [by way of limiting pay raises]," Brown explained.
That poll found that Wood County wasn't alone. Fulton, Defiance, Putnam, Williams, Ottawa, Hancock, Erie and Lucas counties also offered no pay increases for county employees. Only Henry County did, and it was a 2 percent increase.
But despite these times, Brown says because Wood County has industry leaders like First Solar and the coming CSX Terminal in North Baltimore, Wood County has a better financial outlook than others.
"In spite of our trimming back and really mirroring what our citizens are doing, I think the overall outlook for Wood County's economy is very good," Brown said.
The budget passed is temporary and can be adjusted over the year.