Commissioners approve budget without tax increases for 2022

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At their final meeting of 2021, the Franklin County Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a budget for 2022 that is balanced and contains no fee or tax increases.

“The past two years have been challenging, both for our residents and for local governments all over the country,” said Board of Commissioners President, Kevin Boyce. “Franklin County has been able to weather this tough period well because we entered the pandemic in a strong financial position due to smart, conservative planning in years past.”

The commissioners oversee 14 county agencies directly and are responsible for the entire county’s budgets, including those of other elected officials and agencies. Next year’s all funds budget is $1.99 billion, an increase of about 7.9 percent. The all funds budget includes the general fund as well as state and federal funding, and about 40 percent of it is used to fund human and social services such as the Office on Aging, Job and Family Services, ADAMH, and Children Services.

“We’re proud of our reputation for financial prudence, and to be able to continue to invest in things like affordable housing and economic development in order to keep our county on the right track as we recover from the pandemic and its health and economic impacts,” said Commissioner John O’Grady.

The commissioners held three public budget hearings this fall to consider an original budget proposal from county administration. The final budget incorporates a few changes from that proposal, including adjustments for additional contracts to use American Rescue Plan funding in 2022 and to account for higher-than-expected sales tax revenue. The county’s final 2022 general fund budget is about $543 million, a 1.75 percent increase over 2021.

The general fund is mostly made up of sales tax revenue and is largely used to support public safety and justice initiatives such as the sheriff and prosecutor’s offices, 911 call centers, and the court system.

“Many central Ohio families were already living paycheck-to-paycheck, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the barriers that already excited,” said Commissioner Erica Crawley. “I’ve always said, show me you budget and that will show me your values. Our value is to invest intentionally in our people. Our efforts this year have been focused on helping our neighbors survive and meet their basic needs, such as staying in their home.”

The budget will allow the commissioners to add to the county’s “rainy day fund,” which has been steady at $62.5 million for some years.

Additional information about the 2022 budget can be found at budget.franklincountyohio.gov/Budgets/2022.

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