The Wayne County Commissioners adopted a 2024 General Fund and Debt Service Budget on Dec. 14, 2023 that estimates total expenditures at $39,889,084.46, of which more than $2.39 million is debt service payments. The budget calls for no tax increase in the coming year.
The Wayne County General Fund 2023 Budget includes a projected use of carryover from the prior year of $1,324,810.00. In 2023, the County has seen some savings in salaries & benefits costs for long-serving employees who retired and some staffing re-alignment has occurred.
Real estate tax collections continued to be higher than historically used estimates of 90.5%. Unanticipated costs in IT Systems in several departments were off-set by some reductions in maintenance contracts costs related to prior and current year IT system investments. While it is anticipated that the planned deficit may be closer to break-even for 2023 it is not anticipated that an operational surplus will occur.
The Commissioners challenged each department to evaluate operations during the 2024 budget process. From concepts as simple as printing 2 sided copies to difficult topics such as staffing levels and succession planning. This budget maintains and funds the level of services our citizens require & deserve and keep taxes flat for 2024.
The collection of real estate taxes estimate has been increased from a historic 90.5% to 92% of the gross tax duplicate. This means that the proposed tax revenue line item is larger than in 2023 BUT the millage rate is unchanged.
2024 will also be the final year to plan & actively benefit from any ARP Funds that can be used for operations, although effective management of these funds has provided significant investment income & the committed funds on hand for projects will continue to provide returns.
The 2024 Proposed budget has an estimated use of Fund Balance from prior years of $ 1,406,608.83. Per the adopted Fund Balance policy, the County has met our goal of having an unassigned fund balance of at least 60 days of operations, but continued use of fund balance to cover rising expenses must be monitored closely. Economic outlooks expect inflation to decrease or stabilize in 2024 and the county will continue to monitor expenses, participate in cost containment programs and purchasing co-ops whenever available. The increase in activity with the County actively seeking grant dollars to fund programs will also help offset costs in rising human services delivery costs and investment in community and economic development projects that will assist in overall growth.
The Commissioners would like to express their appreciation to the Elected Officials, Department Heads and Business Office Staff for their assistance in this process.