Richland County Courthouse

Richland County Courthouse

MANSFIELD -- After finishing their final department budget hearing Tuesday morning, Richland County commissioners began the process in the afternoon of creating a final 2020 general fund budget.

The first step was deciding on a general fund revenue estimate for next year, which commissioners set at $34.3 million, an increase of about 3 percent over its estimate for 2019.

That estimated revenue means commissioners will have to trim about $1.6 million in department requests from the 2020 budget.

It appears the county will finish 2019 with revenues of around $33.5 million, commissioners said.

"The economy is still strong," Commissioner Tony Vero said.

Commissioner Marilyn John said the trio will now begin reviewing each department's budget requests, "probably changing some of the line items, largely based upon what they told us during budget hearings."

One wild card is the state's new online sales tax, which will be shared with counties. Commissioners are not including that tax in the county's projected revenues for 2020 because they have "no idea" how much it will be worth.

Commissioners plan to finalize the 2020 budget by Dec. 20.

"Elected officials and other department heads deserve to know how much they have (in their budgets) before the new year starts," Vero said as commissioners began a planned three-hour budget work session.

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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?"