Franklin County, Ottawa and other municipalities throughout the county have public hearings scheduled during the next two weeks, giving residents the chance to learn more about their individual 2020 fiscal year budget proposals, and offer comments on how their services will be financed in the coming year.
The annual budget process is the culmination of months of work among department heads and elected officials to develop a financial plan for the next year. Once officials are satisfied with the budget document, they approve its publication and set a public hearing date. The budget summary and date and time of the public hearing is then published in the entity’s official newspaper at least 10 days prior to the hearing.
Once budgets are printed and hearings set, government officials cannot exceed the published maximum expenditure amount, but they can decrease it.
According to state statute, the budget must be adopted and filed with the Franklin County Clerk’s Office by Aug. 25.
Franklin County officials are proposing a $30.5 million budget for the 2020 fiscal year. Thanks to a $13.8 million increase in assessed valuation over the previous year, the county is expecting to generate approximately $16.2 million in property tax revenue - an increase of a little more than $692,000 over last year.
What that means to taxpayers is some relief when it comes to paying their property taxes in December and May. For the 2020 year, the county is proposing a mill levy of 62.151 mills - down from 62.826 in 2019. However, the tax rate is only an estimate and is subject to change depending on final assessed valuation numbers, which are set this fall.
The mill levy is the tax rate applied to the assessed value of a person’s property. One mill represents $1 per $1,000 of assessed value .
In July, Derek Brown, Franklin County administrator, said the county was recommending a slight decrease — about two-thirds of a mill —which would allow the county to increase the amount of money officials were tucking away in reserves for capital improvement projects. With some belt-tightening here and there, county officials were also able to reduce the mill levy while still allowing for employee salary increases.
Commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, in the Franklin County Annex Building.
Ottawa City Commission members are proposing a $42.9 million budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which includes $6.6 million in transfers. Like the county, the city is also enjoying an increase in assessed valuation over the previous year, generating approximately $4.8 million in property tax revenue for the city, or about $221,000 more than in 2019.
City officials are also proposing a flat mill levy of 48.376 mills for the coming year - the same amount as the previous year. The city’s budget hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in city hall.
Wellsville City Council members are proposing a $3.4 million budget for the coming year, including $201,000 in transfers. An increase in assessed valuation is expected to help the city generate approximately $769,000 — an increase of nearly $67,000 over last year.
City officials are also proposing a mill levy of 55.934 mills for the 2020 fiscal year, which is .022 mills lower than a year ago.
The city’s budget hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, in city hall.
Williamsburg City Council members are proposing a $689,000 budget for the coming year, which includes $25,000 in transfers. Last year, the city’s budget totaled $326,800, including $30,000 in transfers.
Financing the budget is a mill levy of 21.810 mills - which is significantly lower than a year ago. Last year’s budget was backed by a mill levy totaling 28.423 mills - a difference of 6.613 mills. The mill levy is expected to generate an estimated $28,875 in revenue.
The city’s budget hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 in city hall.
Two other Franklin County communities, Pomona and Princeton, were scheduled to have their budget hearings on Monday night. Both cities were expected to approve their budgets and the estimated tax levies during the business portion of their regular city council meetings Monday night.
Pomona City Council members proposed a $3.5 million budget, which included $100,000 in transfers. Last year’s budget totaled $2.2 million with the same amount of dollars transferred. The proposed budget is financed by a mill levy of 32.458 mills — an increase of nearly 1.6 mills. By increasing the mill levy, officials hope to generate approximately $139,052 - or about $16,763 more than last year.
Princeton City Council members proposed a budget, which slightly exceeded $441,000, including $10,000 in transfers. That amount was $184,220 higher than a year ago. A significant increase in assessed valuation and additional property tax revenue are not only expected to help generate more money for the city, but also helped officials lower the mill levy just slightly. City officials proposed a tax levy of 15.937 mills - a decrease of .836 mills from last year. The mill levy is expected to generate an estimated $23,475 for the 2020 fiscal year.