Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish will soon propose his third budget, the first of his second term. The 2020-2021 budget will prominently influence the future of the relatively young county government. The budget will bring a number of financial challenges. This post will briefly review the county budget process, what budget factors are known and what budget factors will be decided.
The 2020-2021 budget will prominently influence the future of the relatively young county government.
What we know
- In the last county budget, the Budish administration relied heavily on money from funds that were carried over from previous years to craft the budget. Those one-time-use monies are no longer available. .@CuyahogaCounty Executive @ArmondBudish will soon introduce the 2020-2021 county budget. What to expect? Find out here Click To Tweet
- The Cuyahoga County Office of Budget and Management (OBM) testified at the July 29 meeting of the Cuyahoga County Council Finance Committee that the county’s Health and Human Services levy fund would experience a $7.9 million deficit in 2019, a $10.3 million deficit in 2020 and a $19.7 million deficit in 2021. Afterwards OBM adjusted its projections and said that the levy fund will now show a small surplus of $7.6 million in 2019, a $3 million surplus in 2020 and a $10.9 million deficit in 2021. OBM explained the projected turnaround in 2019 and 2020 was due to increased state revenue resulting from the recently passed state budget.
- Even if the county were to increase the 3.9 mill Health and Human Services levy, and it passed during the May 2020 election, the money would not be available until 2021. The county will have to figure out how to close the deficit for this year and next year.
Even if the county were to increase the 3.9 mill Health and Human Services levy, and it passed during the May 2020 election, the money would not be available until 2021.
- At his May 22 testimony before the Cuyahoga County Council Health, Human Services and Aging Committee, Scott Osiecki, CEO of the Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County thanked Budish for a commitment to not cut the ADAMHS board’s $39 million subsidy from the Health and Human levy fund. This marks the second straight budget that the county executive has not proposed a funding cut for the ADAMHS board, a departure from his 2016-2017 Executive Budget, which proposed a 17 percent decrease in funding that was later restored by county council. Since Osiecki’s testimony the Cuyahoga County Office of Budget and Management has cautioned that the executive has not made any final budget recommendations.
- After a prolonged deliberation period, the state budget process recently concluded. In the final state budget, ADAMHS boards across the state will receive increased funding, but specific amounts are still to be determined.
- The Cuyahoga County Divisions of Job and Family Services, Senior and Adult Services and Child and Family Services, will also see increased funding from the State of Ohio.
Other important issues
- The county still has several major funding decisions to make that will significantly impact the budget planning process. This includes an evaluation of whether to renovate or replace the county jail. The costs of renovation and repair could be measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
- Additionally, the county faces lawsuits related to various county agencies, including the jail and child and family services.
- The Cuyahoga County general fund currently projects a $20 million operating deficit in 2019 and a $20 million operating deficit in 2020.
- The overall state of the general fund is noteworthy, because any potential shortfall in the Health and Human Services Levy fund, would potentially need to be covered by the general fund.
- While the above three points may not necessarily impact the current allocation of Health and Human Services levy funding, they may potentially impact health and human services. The overall state of the general fund is noteworthy, because any potential shortfall in the Health and Human Services Levy fund, would potentially need to be covered by the general fund.
- It is also possible that expenses currently supported by the general fund may have to be transferred to the HHS levy fund if general fund resources are insufficient to cover mandated costs.
- The county still has $1.1 billion in outstanding debt as of January 2019. Combining the principal plus interest, the outstanding amount is $1.5 billion. The county expects to pay approximately $100 million in debt service this year.
While the county executive has the power to veto portions of the budget, this has not yet happened in the new government.
Budish will propose his budget sometime in September. The budget will then be reviewed by the Cuyahoga County Council. Each division head will testify about the fiscal allocation for their department to council. Council will then unveil its version of the budget. While the county executive has the power to veto portions of the budget, this has not yet happened in the new government. This is due to the fact that the budget released by the council has historically been negotiated and agreed to by the executive.
Budget Schedule 2020-2021 Biennial Budget
- Monday, Sept. 30, 1-3 p.m.: Strategic Overview of the 2020-21 Biennial Budget
- Monday, October 7, 1-3 p.m.: Detailed Overview of the Budget
- Tuesday, October 8, 3 p.m.: Introduction of Budget Resolution for First Reading
- Tuesday, October 15, 1-5 p.m.: Departmental Hearings
- Thursday, October 17, 1-5 p.m.: Departmental Hearings
- Monday, October 21, 1-5 p.m.: Departmental Hearings
- Monday, October 28, 1-5 p.m.: Departmental Hearings
- Tuesday, October 29, 9 a.m.-noon: Departmental Hearings
- Tuesday, November 12, 3-5 p.m.: Budget Discussion, Agreement in Concept on Major Amendments
- Monday, November 18, 1-3 p.m.: Accept Substitute, Further Amendment, Possibly Refer to Council
- Monday, November 25, 1-3 p.m.: Final Minor Amendments, Pass out of Committee (if needed)
- Tuesday, November 26, 5 p.m.: Second Reading
- Tuesday, December 10, 5 p.m.: Final Passage on Third Reading