County’s LGF increases to $2.5M

LISBON — Columbiana County will receive an additional $130,000 in state LGF funding, with half of the estimated increase going to county commissioners and the rest spread among the cities, villages and townships.

County Auditor Nancy Milliken reported this week her office has been notified the county is expected to receive $2.5 million in local government fund money in 2019, an increase over the $2.37 million allocated for FY 2018. This represents a turnaround from 2018, when the county’s LGF allocation was cut $88,617 from the year before.

It is still far short of 2008, when the county’s combined annual allocation peaked at $4.8 million. The state legislature began cutting the LGF that year and used the savings to plug holes in the state budget. The county’s LGF allocation bottomed out at $2.2 million in 2015.

Established in 1934, LGF is funded largely with the proceeds from the state income and sales taxes, a percentage of which is returned to county commissioners and local communities. LGF money can be distributed using either a formula established by the state or one agreed upon by the majority of local governments, which is what Columbiana County has done.

The county’s plan continues to give county commissioners the 50 percent they are entitled to by law, with the rest distributed among the three cities, 10 villages and 18 townships on a per capita basis, plus a base amount of $15,000.

Salem, by virtue of being the largest city in the county, receives the largest share after commissioners — $103,000, an $8,000 increase. Summitville, population 135, will receive $15,965.

The amount received by townships ranges from $71,933 by St. Clair Township to $20,824 for Wayne Township, which can have a big impact for some of the smaller and poorer townships.

A separate pot of LGF money is used to fund local public libraries, which will receive a combined $3.55 million in 2019 compared to $3.41 million the year before. In most instances, LGF money represents a library’s entire budget.

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