The Delaware County commissioners spent Monday morning listening as county administrator Dave Cannon laid out his budget projections for the rest of this year and for 2010.

The Delaware County commissioners spent Monday morning listening as county administrator Dave Cannon laid out his budget projections for the rest of this year and for 2010.

Based on revised revenue projections from the county's budget commission, the county will end 2009 with unencumbered reserves of $1.66-million, Cannon told the commissioners.

But 2010 is not looking so rosy, he said, when the county administrator is projecting a $4.5-million deficit by the end of the year unless additional revenue is generated or expenses are cut.

"The general public may think we can operate at a deficit like the federal government, but we can't, statutorily. We must balance the budget," said commissioner Todd Hanks.

At their July 20 meeting, the commissioners and Cannon identified additional revenue to close that gap to a $300,000 deficit and expressed confidence that they will be able to cover that amount before the end of the fiscal year on Dec. 31, 2010, without laying off any employees.

To accomplish that, Cannon is recommending $162,641 in budget cuts for the remainder of this year through the elimination of some training and travel costs, and a decrease in contracted services and printing. The emergency medical services department is offering to cut $20,000 in overtime and $40,000 for safety services and juvenile court would cut $40,000 in foster care services under the recommendations.

The commissioners already approved the transfer of $2-million from money set aside to build a new EMS station on Africa Road. Monday the commissioners talked about transferring the remaining $790,000 out of that account as well. Those transfers require approval from the Ohio Department of Taxation, Cannon said.

The development fund has about $700,000 that could be transferred to the general fund, he said, and the commissioners could add another $610,000 to the general fund by adding another mill onto conveyance fees, a tax imposed on the transfer of real property.

Commission president Tommy Thompson asked Cannon if he considered the budget figures conservative.

"I hope so. I would hate to get to this point next year ... and come in lower," Cannon answered.

"I believe their projections are very straightforward and they are in line with what I would expect to have happen," said commission vice president Ken O'Brien.

There is some good news on the revenue side, with sales tax receipts on the upswing, Thompson said. The budget commission projects the county will collect about $1-million more in sales tax next year than in 2009.

And, while interest income continues to dwindle, new county treasurer Jon Peterson is taking some aggressive, but safe, steps to bring in more money from investments. He took some money out of one account that was generating 0.19 percent in interest and put it into a regular savings account that is earning 0.75 percent, bringing in an additional $50,000 to $60,000.

"It's not a lot of money, but every little bit helps," he told the commissioners.

The budget commission meets again on Aug. 3 and will update revenue estimates then, county auditor George Kaitsa told the commissioners.