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Clark County Prepares Cuts As Virus Keeps Businesses Shuttered

The A.B. Graham Building in Springfield, Ohio.
Clark County, Ohio
The A.B. Graham Building in Springfield, Ohio.

Local government services can be funded in lots of different ways. Like through levies on property values. Or through income taxes. In Clark County, services like the sheriff’s office and jobs and family services are thanks to local sales taxes.

But what happens when all your stores are closed?

Depending on where you live, when you buy something at the store, the store collects sales taxes from you on behalf of the government. It can take a couple of months before that money actually gets deposited with the government. Commissioner Melanie Flax Wilt says Clark County has to brace for a coming fallout now.

"I think it's pretty obvious that we'll see a dip occur there because so many retail establishments aren't even open right now," she says.

Clark County Commissioner Melanie Flax Wilt
Credit Clark County
Clark County Commissioner Melanie Flax Wilt.

This week, the county announced an immediate hiring freeze, employee furloughs, and budget cuts in some departments of more than 25 percent. Wilt says they’re trying to cut on the back end first, so the public won’t see a decrease in services.

"We think we have we have tough decisions to make in order to keep that from happening right now, because it's more important than ever that we have deputies on the streets and utilities being maintained and all of those things," Wilt says.

Before the coronavirus crisis, Commissioner Wilt says Clark County was actually seeing very strong tax revenues. Now, departments like information technology, administrative services, and even the dog shelter are looking for cuts.