At the Butler County Commission meeting on Tuesday, July 25, the board of county commissioners held a public hearing for and adopted the 2018 budget.
The budget has been developed to continue a stable delivery of services to the residents of Butler County with a decreased mill levy of 34.727, compared to the 2017 mill of 34.747. It represents the eighth consecutive mill levy decrease, dating back to 2011, where the preceding year's mill was 36.522.
The 2018 budget encompasses expenditures of $53,918,820, up from $47,954,108 in 2017, an increase of 12.44 percent. The primary increase in expenditures for the budget is attributable to the sales tax fund, which is being budgeted to pay off the debt from Butler County Emergency Communications' 800 MHz public safety radio system approximately two years early due to better-than-budgeted sales tax revenue. Overall taxing fund expenditures are increasing 3 percent, or $1.1 million, mostly attributable to salary study implementation and benefit cost increases. Non-taxing funds are increasing $4.8 million, or 48.1 percent. Property taxes levied for 2018 total $24,456,082, an increase of $966,281 from the prior budget of $23,489,801. This is a decrease in mills of 0.020, or -0.06 percent. The 2018 county budget does not exceed the tax lid limit and did not require a vote.
The board of commissioners also held a public hearing for and approved 2018 budget adoptions for Butler County Fire Districts 1-9. Because the 2017 budgets of fire districts 2, 3 and 9 exceed the calculated limit, a budget resolution was required for each one of those.
Earlier in the meeting, the board recognized Butler County Sheriff Deputy Dillon Ryan with a Spotlight Award for commendable job performance on June 27. Ryan responded to a dispatch call to assist Rose Hill Police Officer Matt Neal with apprehending a suspect in the city limits of Rose Hill at 2 a.m. Deputy Ryan was unable to drive the patrol vehicle to the location where Officer Neal and the suspect were located due to a parked train blocking the roadway. Ryan parked the patrol vehicle and climbed over a coupling of the parked train, proceeding to run on foot three-and-a-half blocks to Neal's location to render aid. The suspect was taken into custody without incident.
"He did go above and beyond by using common sense and parking his car – getting kind of dangerous to get through the train. We're kind of trained not to do that. But with the situation at hand and what the officer was facing, Dillon made a good decision to do what he'd done," Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet said.
Ryan was presented with a $20 gift card along with the Spotlight Award.
Then, Butler County Treasurer Ruth Fechter gave a quarterly investment of idle funds report for the period of January 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017. Investments were split across multiple banks.
"The current balance as of 6-30-17 invested of idle funds is ... 41,880,063 dollars and 89 cents," Fechter said.
Also during the meeting, Public Works Assistant Director Mike Craft requested approval to purchase a replacement landfill mechanic truck. The board of commissioners authorized the department of public works to purchase a used, single-tire, rear-axle, 2003 Ford F-350 utility truck with a diesel engine and 169,000 miles for a price not to exceed $12,500 to replace the current landfill mechanic truck. Additionally, the department of public works was authorized to purchase a similar truck at a price not to exceed $15,000 if the current prospective truck is no longer available.
Afterward, Finance Director and Assistant County Administrator Ryan Adkison presented a 2016 annual report and audit for the county's purchasing cards used by various departments.
"This just shows our total purchases – our transactions for the year. As you can see, it's trended down over the last few years. We were at almost 1.4 million [dollars] in 2008, and last year it was 1.15 [million dollars] or so. We bumped back up this year to 1.2 million [dollars]. So nothing was out of line in that perspective," Adkison said.
The board of commissioners moved to receive and file the report and audit.
At another point in the meeting, Aaron Wells, senior vice president and employees benefit practice leader at insurance brokerage and consulting company USI, conducted a work session on the 2018 Butler County Health Insurance Program. Wells discussed recommended changes and modifications to the county's health insurance program.