By Nancy Bowman
The Miami County commissioners Dec. 21 approved more than $90 million in county appropriations for 2018 including a 2.5 percent increase in salary accounts for all nonunion employees covered by the general fund.
The appropriations include $32.3 million in general fund appropriations, an increase of 3.7 percent over 2017. Commissioner John "Bud" O'Brien said the salary increases were possible thanks to conservative spending, the county's strong financial position today and a good year financially in 2017.
O'Brien cautioned, however, that loss of income including the sales tax for Medicare services — an estimated $850,000 loss — helped make preparing for 2018 more difficult. "It was a tougher budget this year than it has been in the past," he said.
Commission President Jack Evans said the commission couldn't be successful with its budgeting without cooperation of other elected officials, commissioners' staff, employees and the auditor's office.
"Matt will certainly keep eye on budget and make sure we continue to run as efficiently and as painless as we have in past," he said.
For first-year Commissioner Greg Simmons, the budget and appropriations process was a learning experience. He thanked Evans and O'Brien along with commission staff and county Auditor Matt Gearhardt for working with him and answering questions.
The overall appropriations, including the general fund were approved at $93.25 million.
In other action Dec. 19 or 21, the commissioners agreed to hire Heapy Engineering of Dayton for $29,700 for a limited services contract as part of the proposed surveillance and access control system for the county jail and the Incarceration Facility and surveillance systems for the county engineer's office and the Eldean Road Covered bridge.
The contract is limited in scope to the consultants going through the facilities and compiling a report on what they think is needed to meet the county needs as far as cameras and other security related equipment.
In other business, the commissioners said they would not request a hearing by liquor control officers for Long Shots Entertainment, doing business as Long Shots Driving Range at 2315 S. County Road 25A, Troy.