County reveals 2020 budget

The 2019 General Fund Budget is not finalized yet, as it has not been signed by Chairman Blair Zimmerman or commissioners Dave Coder and Archie Trader. 

Additionally, the budget also needs to be attested to by Chief Clerk Jeff Marshall.

Currently, however, the proposed general fund budget for Greene County in 2020 is nearly $20 million, up more than $700,000 from the 2019 budget. 

More than $7 million in expenditures has been paid to children and youth, compared to $863,000 from a year ago. 

In addition, this year’s budget includes an impact fee of more than $6 million.

The total county budget is $42,949,222.78, which is up more than $14 million from last year. In 2018, the total budget was $28,870,113.

One change that the county is making as it enters the new decade, explained Chief Financial Officer Scott Kelley, is cutting the department of weights and measures.

“The county has been doing weights and measures itself, and basically the fields you see at the gas stations. So, if you’re buying a gallon of gas you always know you’re buying a gallon of gas,” Kelley said.  “That has been a function performed by the county in the past, but we were one of the few counties left that do it ourselves.”

One of the biggest challenges with the new budget will be that, for the first time since Kelley can remember, there will be two republican commissioners. 

Red is the color for both Betsy Rohanna McClure and Mike Belding. 

Usually, both parties are represented, so Kelley does not know how drastic of a change this will cause.

“I don’t know when the last time that we had two republican commissioners at the county,” Kelley said. “Traditionally, the county has had two democrats and one republican, but that has flipped this time, and we’re going to have two republican commissioners. Then one of our democratic commissioners from the current term also won, and he will be the third commissioner for the next four years.”

Although Kelley said he cannot speak for the new commissioners, he believes there might be some cuts taking place in the future.

“When two commissioners get in, I think they will reopen the budget and take a good look at that and maybe do some cutting on that budget,” Kelley said.

Kelley did not sugarcoat the problems Greene County’s budget is facing, particularly its deficit.

“I think moving forward, we have some challenges,” he said. “We have a deficit right now. We’re using Act 13, which is the impact fee money to help balance that budget.”

Once this budget is approved, Kelley said, it will be up to the new commissioners, Belding and McClure, to figure out what the next steps should be.

“I’m kind of under the impression they will want to use that money differently and use it for development purposes,” Kelley said. “So I would expect that we’re going to do some real looking at the budget and see where things can be cut for next year and their entire term.”

The proposed 2020 Greene County General Fund Budget will be available for public comment until Dec. 19. 

The budget is planned on passing that day during the regularly scheduled commissioners meeting if no complications or objections arise. 

For any questions about the budget, contact Scott Kelley at 724-852-5296 or Jeff Marshall at 724-852-5210.