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County budget remains steady

Published 11:17am Tuesday, February 26, 2013

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Shelby County has reached a “new normal” in terms of a reduced budget, Shelby County Manager Alex Dudchock said during a Feb. 25 County Commission meeting.

Shelby County Finance Manager Butch Burbage presented the county’s four-month financial review for fiscal year 2013 to the commission.

With property taxes and sales taxes exceeding the projected 2013 budget, Burbage said the numbers appear positive.

“It’s a good indication that the economy has, I wouldn’t say rebounded, but the indication on sales tax is that we’re not going down anymore,” Burbage said.

The county’s current general fund income, which includes revenue from property appraisals, building permits, inmate housing, property tax and more, exceeds the projected budget by about $165,000.

The county’s percentage intake from gasoline sales is about $22,000 below the projected income, which Dudchock attributed to higher fuel efficiency vehicles and higher gas prices. Income from gasoline sales is only available for highway maintenance and construction, Dudchock said.

Lodging tax revenue is also down, with almost $64,000 less than projected. Lodging taxes can only be used for economic and tourism purposes, as dictated by state law, Burbage said.

Dudchock said the economy has been slowly recovering since 2008. Using 2008 as a base year, the 2008 county budget was $54 million. When the recession hit in 2009, there was an “immediate” $2.1 million reduction in revenues. The 2010 budget lost $4.5 million from its revenue stream, and 2011 brought in $4.3 million less than the 2008 budget. In 2012, the county saw a “slight improvement” with only $3 million less than the 2008 budget, Dudchock said.

From 2008 to 2012, Shelby County property values decreased $101 million in value, and along with that, the county received $8.8 million in reduced taxes, Dudchock said.

Also in the commission meeting, Shelby County Property Tax Commissioner Don Armstrong said a list of delinquent real estate taxes has been posted on Shelbyal.com. Armstrong said 1,427 properties are being advertised, along with 665 business-personal properties.

Armstrong will sell “to the highest bidder for cash” the real estate on the delinquent list April 1 at 10 a.m. in front of the Shelby County Courthouse.

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