This is a follow-up to our previous article on the Lake County Crime Lab levy:
To get a better understanding of County finances, we attended several of the budget meetings held by the three County Commissioners and the Finance/Budget Director.
We wanted to dig a little deeper into the Prosecutor’s budget because there is much more to it than just what is part of the General Fund. Here is a recap of their expenditures for the years 2014 – 2019. Prosecutor’s Financial Summary
The Prosecutor’s revenue stream comes from several different sources.
Here is their written requests for the 2019 Budget: Prosecutor’s Written Requests
General Fund $4,032,847 for 2019: Prosecutor’s Budget 2019 – General Fund
We learned from the Finance Director that the $125,000 in “General Fund Support” (account 119-930) are transfers from the General Fund to meet the Federal matching funds required for the Victim Witness Assistance program.
We asked the question exactly who are the Prosecutor’s clients. It is all covered by the Ohio Revised Code, and here is the list provided to us by the Prosecutor.
The Prosecutor IV-D budget [$911,909] covers the contract between the Job and Family Services and the Prosecutor’s office. One of their roles is dealing with child support services, and the Job and Services Department pays for the annual cost of an attorney in the Prosecutor’s office. Here is the IV-D contract with Job and Family Services:
Prosecutor IV-D Contract
Here is the IV-D 2019 Budget: Prosecutor’s IV-D Budget
So what is the Prosecutor’s Delinquent Tax fund, you may ask? Prosecutor’s Delinquent Tax Fund
The Prosecutor’s office assists the Treasurer’s Office in the collection of the delinquent property taxes, and they get a percentage of the money collected. In effect, they are the muscle for the Treasurer’s office, and ensure that all property taxes, except those turned over to private collection firm, who charge 17% – 18% for their collection efforts (called tax lien certificates).
The last item on the Prosecutor’s budget is the “Utilities Fund”. This is for services rendered by the Prosecutor’s office for the Utilities Department. The interesting point to us is that the annual charge is unknown because it is not based on billable hours, but rather what the Prosecutor’s office and the Utilities Department thinks is fair. For 2018, they received $224,000 from the Utility Department.
When we add up all of the funds received from the general fund, the Federal and State grants, collection services fees, and the fees charged to the other governmental bodies, our Prosecutor’s office cost the taxpayers in excess of $9 million to operate.
“Holy shiitake mushrooms, Batman, I thought you said crime does not pay?”
“Ease up, my little friend, even the good guys have to make a living….besides having Tom Hagen as the war-time consigliere on staff can be expensive….gotta ward off those pesky community activists…right?”
“Wow, slow down cape crusader, cover-up —- your lack of decorum is showing …..remember people are watching…”