ANGOLA — Steuben County got some good fiscal news Tuesday, even if some members of the Steuben County Council, like tough Dan Caruso and tax hawk Ruth Beer, worry about the county’s finances.
It was good news, however, presented Tuesday by Nichole Franklin of Peters Franklin Financial, a municipal financial consulting firm in Franklin.
“Overall, overall, things are looking good,” Franklin said. “You have enough cash. You have good rainy day funds.”
If there was a downside, Franklin said spending on public safety has been increasing.
However, these increases, especially a pay increase in the sheriff’s department, have been offset by a reduction in overtime expenses.
Franklin projects an increase in county income tax revenue in 2023. The county’s growth rate has been set at 5%, which could allow for spending growth of around 2-3%.
Franklin said the county has $11 million in cash reserves, which could grow to about $14 million by 2025.
When it came to the impact of the construction of the new $26.2 million court center, it was not considered because the project, before Tuesday, had not been approved. The council agreed to sign a lease to finance the project on Tuesday.
The new facility will likely require additional staff, particularly in the security area, but this has not been determined.
In another bright spot, the county has determined that it will use its share of the American Rescue Plan funds provided by the administration of President Joe Biden and the Democratic Congress for revenue recovery from the impact of COVID-19 .
“We’ve already met and decided we’re going to use it for revenue recovery,” Auditor Kim Meyers said.
The county’s American Rescue Plan committee will determine how that money will be spent. It is made up of the three commissioners and three members of the Steuben County Council.
The commission’s first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Steuben County has received $6.7 million. The county has been ordered to withhold about half of the funds for audits and other program requirements.