Spencer Gives Update

ST. MARYS — Members of a local service club Tuesday night received an update about a variety of county news from one of its top elected officials.

Auglaize County Commissioner Doug Spencer gave an update on the county during a visit to the St. Marys Kiwanis Club’s weekly meeting. Spencer touched upon topics ranging from income tax collection receipts to the massive renovation project at the courthouse.

“With all things being equal, economic development is this — increasing the velocity of good money, decreasing the velocity of bad money and increasing the volume of neutral money,” Spencer said. “Sales tax ties into that quite well.”

Spencer gave an example of residents shopping at Wal-Mart. Instead of going to Celina to purchase products from the retailer, Spencer encouraged residents to visit the Wapakoneta store if Wal-Mart is their ultimate retail destination.

“With all things being equal, distance, the amount of the purchase, it makes more sense from the county’s perspective that we all live in that Auglaize County would be our choice for a Wal-Mart if that’s the only place you are going,” Spencer said. “That’s because we will receive 1.5 cents on that purchase if it’s sales tax applicable.”

After several years of sagging sales tax receipts, Spencer said the county has started to rebound. The county recently surpassed collection rates from 2008 — when Spencer said the county had a banner year.

“Let’s continue increasing the velocity of good money and decreasing bad money,” Spencer said.

With the passage of the state’s biennial budget, the county now has a more clear picture of its Local Government Funds disbursement. Spencer revealed the county’s share of the revenue will be sliced in the coming years.

“In 2010, we took in 767,000 and change from the state government,” Spencer said. “In 2011, this is the projected number now that we know that it’s going to extend through July 1, 2011, we should be bringing in $739,000.”

Further cuts are expected the following years. In 2012, Spencer said he expected to see the county receive $500,000. In 2013, Spencer said the county is guaranteed $337,000 for the first six months of the years because of how the state’s fiscal year falls.

“Will they totally annihilate Local Government Funds with the next budget round, I would bet on it,” Spencer said. “But that’s all we know.”

Spencer also touched upon the failed attempt to include a provision in the biennial budget that would have established a local entity, made up on county commissioners of Auglaize and Mercer counties, charged with directing progress for Grand Lake St. Marys. State Sen. Keith Faber proffered the option, which ultimately was stripped out of the budget.

“Sen. Faber believed it was pretty much a slam dunk to get through the budget bill and that we would have this established and it didn’t happen to this point,” Spencer said. “Hearing from some reps from the governor’s office and Sen. Faber’s office, it will be attempted again this fall.”