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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007
By Pat Royse
Mercer County appropriations up 6.5% for '07
  The Mercer County Commission decided on Tuesday how the county's expected income for 2007 will be spent.
This year's appropriation to fund 37 agencies and departments in Mercer County totals $9,740,600.12, an increase of 6.55 percent over 2006's appropriation.
Income to pay general fund agencies comes from taxpayers, in the form of sales tax, property tax, fees and the state's local government fund. One third of the income is sales tax generated.
County Auditor Mark Giesige has estimated the county will have $10.6 million on hand this year, when the $1.6 million carryover from last year is added in.
Three line items assigned to the sheriff department's administration - the jail, at $743,299, central dispatch, at $321,944, and the sheriff's department proper, at $1,407,701 - add up to 25.65 percent of the total general fund budget.
The only other line item in the general fund list that is over $1 million is for health, workers' compensation and liability insurance.
Buildings, grounds and capital improvements, listed in the general fund with an outlay $298,000 for 2007, is a 124 percent increase over last year. It is a one-time expense to pay for computers, software and other upgrades for the common pleas court and the clerk of courts.
The outside funds handled and distributed or collected by commissioners total $35,223,925. Outside funds have other sources of income. For example, the revolving loan fund, which totals $600,000 for 2007, collects money from the business that is paying back a loan and makes new loans to others with that income. Money also goes into the many ditch funds from property owners who are paying for building or improving the assorted ditches.
Other outside funds are just a "pass through" for state-funded agencies.
Commissioners will spend or act as fiscal agent for a total of $44,964,525 this year.
Commissioners agreed Tuesday to post on the county's Web site at www.mercercountyohio.org and advertise the general fund appropriations budget in the newspaper.
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