Brown County Commissioners, Barry Woodruff, Tony Applegate and Daryll Gray are joining the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) to call for a stronger partnership between state and county government as they released “Stronger Counties. Stronger Partnership. Stronger Ohio,” a briefing guide detailing county funding needs and asks that need to be addressed in future state budgets and legislation.
The CCAO board met last Friday with both major gubernatorial candidates (Richard Cordray and Mike DeWine) and their respective lieutenant governor candidates (Betty Sutton and Jon Husted) to brief them on issues confronting counties and how to work together for a bright Ohio future.
“Ohio’s 88 counties serve as branch administrative offices of the state by providing vital services. Counties are given this specific responsibility but limited authority by the Ohio Revised Code,” CCAO President Daniel Troy said. “CCAO was very pleased with the meetings with both gubernatorial candidates, as we look to foster an improved and stronger relationship between state and county government. Collaboration and cooperation between the two government entities must exist to strengthen counties and improve the well-being of all Ohioans.”
State polices enacted over the last decade have placed counties in the difficult position of balancing revenue loss with escalating costs. The loss of the Medicaid managed care organization (MCO) sales tax, severe reductions in the Local Government Fund (LGF) and the phase out of the tangible personal property tax (TPP) has eliminated approximately $351 million per year in county revenue statewide. Brown County has experienced a Sales and Use Tax loss of $285,367.76 during the first half of 2018 when compared with the first half of 2017 due to the change in MCO generated sales tax. Those are real dollars that came into our county in previous years that we are no longer receiving to administer services and maintain buildings.
“The state’s revenue policy decisions, combined with our growing costs caused by the additional state mandates and the opioid epidemic, have depleted budgets and delayed capital projects. It can be a struggle to provide the services that Ohioans need,” Commissioner Woodruff said. “We must have the state’s financial commitment to ensure we have the necessary revenue to provide county residents with the expected services that are critical to their quality of life. The state’s reduction of county revenue combined with the costs of responding to the opioid crisis has made county budgeting more than difficult. Therefore, we are hopeful for a fresh alliance from our next governor that considers the struggle Southern Ohio Counties have been polluted with. Furthermore, county agencies are serving more individuals than ever before from our Job & Family Services Office to our Coroner due to the overwhelming drug crisis. Our Courts, Sheriff’s Office, CSEA, Mental Health & Addiction Services and Prosecutor all are working diligently to answer the increased demands of the drug epidemic and its domino affects in our county. Our Board is optimistic that the state will partnership with county government to allow us to better fund our agencies, consequently better serving our communities.
The County Commissioners Association of Ohio advances effective county government for Ohio through legislative advocacy, education and training, technical assistance and research, quality enterprise service programs, and greater citizen awareness and understanding of county government.