LIMA — Second-year Commissioner Cory Noonan said he is excited about the direction the county is headed as he took the helm of the Allen County Board of Commissioners on Monday.
He said the $25.27 million general fund appropriations for 2014 are a slight increase above the $24.67 million approved in 2013.
“It is good have it on Jan. 13 and not two months later,” Noonan said.
They approved the 2013 appropriations in the latter part of February.
“Overall it is a very solid budget and we are living within our means,” said Noonan, whose fellow commissioners voted him as president of the board. “It is a slight increase from 2013 but it is because of issues out of our hands. We are very excited to have this balanced budget in place.”
He cited those issues as utility costs and medical costs at the Allen County Jail.
The commissioners approved appropriations for all funds totaling $246.1 million.
With the two appropriations measures passed, he and fellow commissioners Greg Sneary and Jay Begg intend to shift their focus to capital projects.
“I think the capital budget is critically important,” Noonan said. “We are going to focus on the structures we have and getting us in a place where we are able to take care of those needs, including the clock tower and our move.”
Funds received from the casino deal have remained solid with the money paid to Allen County going toward capital projects, Noonan said, but they are keeping a watchful eye on the effect the racinos, a combination of a race track and a casino, have on casino contributions.
He also sees the commissioners spending more time in the next year on economic development.
“We want to continue to focus on economic development, working with Jeff Sprague and AEDG [Allen Economic Development Group], our port authority we were able to reorganize that this past year and we plan to continue to work with them and to go out and meet with businesses,” Noonan said. “We all want those new businesses coming in but we have to remember those existing businesses here with plans for expansion and growth and we want to keep those businesses here.”
The commissioners also announced they would be moving their offices on Tuesday and Wednesday from the third floor of the Allen County Courthouse, 301 N. Main St., to the third floor of the Third District Court of Appeals Building, 204 N. Main St.