Ohio county placed on 'fiscal emergency'

SCIOTO COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - Auditor of State Mary Taylor announced a fiscal emergency in Scioto County on Wednesday.

Her determination was made following the results of a fiscal analysis conducted by the Auditor of State that revealed a combined county fund deficit of more than $3.5 million as of June 30, 2009. The deficit is anticipated to increase unless county officials develop and implement a successful financial recovery plan.

"This is very serious. Ultimately it means that, based on current conditions, Scioto County may not be able to pay its bills," Taylor said. "We have been communicating with county officials for nearly two years hoping to avoid this declaration today, but as economic conditions worsen and tough choices avoided, this declaration of fiscal emergency is the first step to restoring fiscal stability in Scioto County."

Scioto County is the first county in Ohio's history to receive a fiscal emergency designation, but its financial troubles are not new. According the the auditor's office, the county first began experiencing a general fund deficit in 2006. Since that time, three additional funds have gone into the red. As of June 30, 2009, Scioto County had fund deficits totaling $3,528,482.

The fiscal emergency declaration will result in the appointments of a seven-member state commission to help Scioto County regain financial stability.  The commission will be responsible for approving the county's financial recovery plan that identifies solutions for eliminating deficits outlined in the Auditor of State's fiscal analysis.

Taylor says her office will assist Scioto County officials as they work through their plan for financial recovery. The Auditor of State's Local Government Services section will also help county officials identify solutions to restore the county's financial well-being and improve accountability to local taxpayers.

A copy of the full fiscal analysis is available online at www.auditor.state.oh.us.

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