Defiance County commissioners approved a $63 million special funds budget for 2020 during their Monday meeting.

The figure is $63,549,627, or nearly 15% higher than the amount set aside for 2019 ($55,281,929).

Special funds generally have their own revenue sources as opposed to the county’s general fund which was approved on Dec. 9. For example, the senior services budget is financed largely by a property tax levy approved and renewed by county voters.

The 2020 general fund totals $14,391,974.7, or 2.2% higher than the amount set aside for 2019 ($14,082,372.66).

The increase in special funds appropriations for 2020 can be attributed primarily to increases in several budgets.

Dollar-wise, the largest increase is in the internal service fund, which finances health insurance for county employees. This has increased from $3,400,000 in 2019 to $5,222,253 in 2020 due to a rise in premiums.

Also increasing considerably is the amount set aside for the county’s highway department — which appears in the budget as “roads, bridge, culverts” and is funded by state gas taxes and license plate fees. This will go from $5,607,883 in 2019 to $7,033,311 this year.

The reason for the increase is the Ohio General Assembly’s decision to raise fuel tax rates last year, allowing local municipalities to receive more money.

Defiance County alone will get an additional $1.5 million, according to Engineer Warren Schlatter. That will raise the county’s anticipated gas tax receipts from $2.3 million in 2019 to $3.8 million this year, he indicated.

“We’re thankful for the increase,” said Schlatter, adding that the extra money will be used for paving.

The second largest increase dollar-wise in the county’s special funds is for community development block grants. The 2020 figure is $2,132,274, while the 2019 amount is $880,155.

Other significant increases include capital projects, $3,542,815 ($2,876,957); county E-911 communication center, $1,647,385 (in 2020) from $1,294,331 (in 2019); federal grants to be used by Schlatter’s office, $949,033 from $647,832 in 2019; and ditch maintenance, $1,405,367 from $1,138,451 last year.

This year’s largest special funds, with 2019 figures in parenthesis, include: landfill, $20,948,653 ($20,070,997); roads, bridges, culverts, $7,033,311 ($5,6097,883); enterprise funds (for the landfill’s closure and post-closure expenses), $6,680,845 ($6,310,195); internal service fund (employee health insurance), $5,222,253 ($3,400,000); capital projects, $3,542,815 ($2,876,957); debt services funds, $2,867,255 ($3,007,761); community development block grant, $2,132,274 ($880,155); senior services, $2,127,627 ($2,009,985); E-911 communication center, $1,647,385 ($1,294,331); ditch maintenance, $1,405,367 ($1,138,451); sanitary sewer district, $1,140,654 ($1,176,330) child support enforcement agency, $1,106,520 ($1,127,552); engineering construction-federal grants, $949,033 ($647,832); real estate assessment fund, $778,509 ($634,046); certificate of title administration, $605,964 ($463,103); county lodging tax, $505,037 ($420,687); placement fund-juvenile probation, $388,065 ($378,647); PSI writer grant, $348,367 ($346,134); wireless 911, $299,392 ($315,245); solid waste district, $277,279 ($226,077).

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