Thursday, May 17, 2001

Campbell County plans capital fund

County submits balanced budget containing 4% increase

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — The proposed Campbell County budget for fiscal 2002 only increases 4 percent from the present budget, but features for the first time a capital project fund to take some spending burden away from individual departments.

        “We are developing the necessary sophistication to track this capital project money,” Judge-executive Steve Pendery said Wednesday. “We want to think about the money we have and the best way to spend it. With a capital project fund, we can finance equipment for various departments so the departments don't appear out of line with large budget requests.”

        The other major point Mr. Pendery brought home Wednesday was that the county is coming in with a balanced budget, a nice piece of news considering that in 1999 the then newly-elected judge-executive was facing a deficit of more than $1 million and a cash reserve that would barely cover that shortfall.

        The proposed budget for fiscal 2002 is $23,116,116, an increase of $795,610 — or 3.4 percent — over fiscal 2001. The general fund, which makes up 40 percent of the budget, is $10,678,759, down 5 percent from the current general fund.

        The proposed capital project fund is $2,420,700. Mr. Pendery said the plan is to gradually draw upon cash reserves and transfer that money to the capital project fund to finance needed capital projects.

        Among the projects proposed for the coming fiscal year that would be financed through the new fund are:

        • $600,000 for improvements to the aging Fiscal Court building on Fourth Street, or possibly using the funds to help finance a move to a better, larger facility.

        • $500,000 for the consolidated dispatch center.

        • $145,500 to replace police cruisers.

        • $250,000 for road resurfacing.

        • $200,000 for acquisition of park land.

        “We took recommendations from the various department heads for projects they wanted to include in the capital project fund, and had a few of our own,” Mr. Pendery said.

        “All of the projects probably will not be funded immediately.”

        The new budget, developed by county finance director Larry Sabo and his staff, includes recommendations for up to 4 percent cost-of-living pay raises for county employees, as well as continuation of a phased program to bring county employee salaries in line with similar jobs in the labor market.

        No new hirings are recommended in the 2002 budget.


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