County finances and 2017 tax collection discussed at commission meeting


Active and inactive county funds disclosed

By Ashley Bunton - abunton@civitasmedia.com



“We balance the books to the penny,” said Fayette County Treasurer Susan Dunn during a meeting Monday with the Fayette County Commissioners.

Dunn presented a letter to the commissioners and discussed the public depository request and this year’s real estate tax collection.

The depository represents every fund in the county, including the general fund, departments such as health and water, and divisions like Victim Witness, among many others.

For all county agencies and public money, the county funds must be held in a public depository at a bank.

For the period commencing Aug. 10, 2017, through Aug. 9, 2021, the total amount of the active fund will be $22 million. The active fund represents the total amount of money on hand to pay bills and operating expenses within each of those individual funds.

The total amount of inactive funds will be $21 million, according to Dunn. Inactive funds are the total amount of money in excess after bills and operating expenses have been paid in each individual fund. The inactive funds remain within each individual fund itself; there’s no “slush pool” of inactive funds, said Dunn.

Every four years, the county treasurer opens the bidding for the banks interested in financing and managing the public depository.

The banks then submit bid packages to the county detailing what the bank will charge for the county’s banking needs, such as checking. The banks each also offer a percentage of gained interest on the public depository. Last year the county public depository earned approximately $70,000 with a .30 percent annual interest rate.

This year the bid opens July 10. Dunn said the county is only interested in working with banks within Fayette County, in order to keep Fayette County money in Fayette County.

Although all of the six prospective Fayette County banks are FDIC insured, the FDIC insurance only covers a deposit in the amount of up to $250,000. Because the county’s public depository is in excess of that amount, the banks themselves must provide collateral.

Ohio legislature recently changed the Ohio Revised Code concerning the Uniform Depository Act. In addition to the banks themselves providing collateral, now the county can option to use the state’s pooled collateral. The Ohio pooled collateral system will go into effect before or on July 1 of this year under the treasurer of state.

Dunn said that it is in the best interest of the county taxpayers to continue to use the bank collateral and not the state’s pooled collateral system. With the state’s pooled collateral system, Dunn said that someone in the county treasurer’s office would have to get online everyday and check for the collateral in the state’s system.

“We’re going to do what’s advantageous to the county,” said Dunn.

Dunn said she operates the county treasurer’s office with three things in mind: safety, liquidity and yield, and in that order — to safe-guard taxpayers’ monies.

For the first half of the year, over $20 million in real estate taxes have been collected in Fayette County by the Fayette County Treasurer’s Office. Dunn said they expect to collect about $13 million in the second half from real estate taxes. She explained that the second half collection is lower than the first half because many people opted to pay their taxes in full for the year in one single payment in the first half. Payments for the second half are due June 16.

Seventy to 80 percent of the $33 million collected in real estate taxes goes directly to the schools, according to Dunn and the commissioners. From last year’s real estate tax collection, the general fund received $2.189 million. That money went into different line items within the general fund. The county expects the general fund to receive a similar amount from this year’s collection.

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Active and inactive county funds disclosed

By Ashley Bunton

abunton@civitasmedia.com

Ashley may be contacted by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton

Ashley may be contacted by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton