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MANSFIELD -- Richland County commissioners Thursday approved a 2020 tax budget that includes $32 million in estimated revenue with $36.4 million in spending requests.

The tax budget is just a framework and the work toward balancing the final budget will not be complete until this fall.

The $4.4 million gap is smaller than the past two years at this point in the process. The gap was $6.2 million in the 2019 tax budget and $7.6 million in 2018.

The state budget is not yet finalized, which will impact local revenue, and the sales tax numbers are not up to date.

A year ago, the county had $34.6 million in revenue and $34.2 million in expenses. The revenue included $1.3 million in Medicaid-related taxes no longer being collected.

One potential local revenue enhancement could come if the finalized state budget includes increased state funds for attorneys' fees for indigent defendants. That could result in a few hundred thousand dollars to the county's bottom line through the end of this year and 2020.

None of the three commissioners expressed frustration that the state budget is not yet complete.

"It's funny to me, but it is what it is," Commissioner Tony Vero said. "Sen. (Larry) Obhof and Rep. (Mark) Romanchuk had been very responsive in keeping us updated (to what's happening in Columbus).

Commissioner Marilyn John said the revenue projections for the state have actually increased during the budgeting process.

"That's a positive," she said.

City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"

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