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2023 county finances better than expected

Butler County Government Center. Butler Eagle File Photo

While county officials are in the process of closing the financial books for 2023, they are discovering the county ended the year healthier than expected.

The county took in about $3 million more in revenue than was projected in the budget, and used $1.2 million less from the fund balance than was called for in the budget, said Ann Brown, budget and human services finance director, during Wednesday’s county commissioners meeting.

Revenue of $70.76 million was anticipated in the budget, but Brown estimated the final figure will be $73.31 million.

“I’m estimating revenue for 2023 to be just over $73 million,” Brown told the commissioners.

She said several factors led to the windfall including the collection of $313,817 more in real estate tax revenue than was projected in the budget and receiving $1.4 million in interest that was not in the budget.

She also estimated $2.8 million from the fund balance was used, but $4 million was allocated in the budget, she said.

“I’m happy to say if my estimates are pretty accurate, we’re going to use $2.8 million of our fund balance for 2023,” Brown said.

Commissioners chairman Leslie Osche said the budget called for using $4 million from the fund balance.

Brown said $3 million in American Rescue Plan Act money, which was in the general fund balance at the end of 2022, was transferred to the capital improvement fund to pay for maintenance projects for the next five years.

Body cameras

In addition, the commissioners agreed to apply for a $5,084 federal Small, Rural and Tribal Body-Worn Camera program grant to buy 10 body cameras for the district attorney office’s Emergency Service Unit.

District Attorney Richard Goldinger said the cameras will cost $10,168, and he is looking into providing an in-kind match to eliminate any expense to the county.

The cameras would be attached to officers’ helmets and record what an officer is observing for transparency, officer safety and preventing false claims against officers, he said.

Lawsuit settlement

The commissioners also approved a $12,000 settlement for a federal age discrimination suit filed by former employee Holly Radwanski. In her suit, she claimed she was “compelled to resign” and “constructively discharged” in May 2022 after her pay was cut in half as a result of a job transfer.

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