WAYNESBURG – The Greene County Commissioners passed the county’s 2023 budget at their normal business meeting today with no increase in taxes. “Although long-term fiscal concerns remain as we continue to seek additional positive, diverse economic drivers, we have settled into a stable budget pattern for the near future,” said Chairman Mike Belding, Greene County Board of Commissioners.
With the implementation of significant fiscal policy changes and expense reduction actions in 2020, there is growing evidence of positive budgetary trends. The 2021 Auditor’s Report highlighted increases in Governmental Funds Fund Balance, General Fund Balance, and Unrestricted Net Position.
Additional fiscal improvements were noted in a recently completed Strategic Management Planning Program and Five-year Financial Management Plan (STMP). Fiscal policy changes reduced total expenses for 2020 to the lowest level since 2015. 2020 marked the first time during the six-year study period that the fund balance grew instead of declining. The government general administrative expenses dropped by 13.9% from 2019 to 2020. Commissioner Blair Zimmerman said, “The STMP presented valuable analysis, data and recommendations for future activities and opportunities to keep improving our budget process and effective spending of tax revenue.”
The 2023 general fund budget is programmed for increased expenses of only $300,000 which have been offset by increased ACT 13 funding and the second installment of the county’s allocation of the American Rescue Plan Funding. “If you consider all the economic impacts of the last year - inflation rates, and increasing medical and personnel costs - we are happy with the slight increase presented in this budget,” said Commissioner Betsy McClure. “Our departments and staff have worked extremely hard in managing costs and increasing the successful applications for grant opportunities to offset eligible costs,” she shared.
The Commissioners wish to commend the department heads and staff for their efforts in prioritizing expenditures and implementing cost cutting policies. Our focus is on maintaining adequate staff and resources to continue supporting the residents, those employed within the county and visitors with expected services. It is important that we seek grant or philanthropic financial contributions for new, unfunded initiatives.
Overall, there have been positive developments in the county towards diversifying workforce requirements, business and industrial opportunities and the significant grant-funded investment in broadband deployment continues. Community involvement in defining, analyzing and working toward solutions in cooperative efforts continues. From broadband installation, water and sewer projects, to owner-occupied home improvement programs, county departments are focused on quality-of-life initiatives, increasing amenities available and effective use of financial resources available.
We have momentum in the right direction, but we must remain focused toward smartly investing our precious resources, growing opportunities to increase tax revenue for future budget cycles and continue fiscally responsible decision making. It is imperative that we continue to work with other government entities, school districts, and develop public/private partnerships in order to bring businesses, diversified industry and increased residential housing activity into Greene County. Every day, your county commissioners and staff remain focused on making Greene County a better place to live, learn, work, and play.
The Auditor’s Report, STMP and 2023 budget are available on the county’s website. Additional information can be obtained on the Greene County Commissioner’s Facebook page or by calling (724) 852-5210.