Lucas County Commissioners approve 2021 budget
Commissioners hope to avoid further economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic.
TOLEDO, Ohio — Tuesday, the Lucas County Commissioners unanimously approved the county’s 2021 budget.
Overall, the general fund budget projects revenue and expenditures for 2021 to be nearly equal at $152 million. To balance the 2021 budget, Lucas County expects to spend $848,716 from the county’s general fund reserve, which will maintain the fund at 1.56 percent above the county’s reserve policy and continue the county’s solid bond rating.
Lucas County began 2020 with a projected $153.4 million general fund budget, which included using $582,000 from the general fund reserve to close the gap between expenses and projected revenue for the year. However, the county’s spending plan was abruptly impacted nine months ago due to the pandemic and the ensuing issuance of a public health emergency for the state of Ohio. To offset a projected 20 percent loss in the county revenue stream due to the curtailment of businesses, restaurants, and other activity, the county took unprecedented steps of making across-the-board reductions to target 20 percent less spending in county offices and operations to align with the projected loss of revenue.
Through layoffs, furloughs, and service cuts, the county implemented nearly $7 million in reductions in operations and expenses.
Lucas County, the sixth most populated county in Ohio, fell short by 62,000 residents of automatic eligibility to receive revenue replacement through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic relief package signed into law by the president in late March. The commissioners then took their case to senators, U.S. representatives, the governor, and General Assembly members to make a direct appeal for funds. Beginning in August, Lucas County received the first installment of what would become a total of $23 million in CARES funding.