Justin Reash, Community Editor

During the last week of September, Butler County Clerk of Courts Mary L. Swain declared an excess of funds in her budget to the tune of $1 million. She subsequently allocated those funds to the Butler County general fund, which is a job-saving boost for the county.

On Sept. 29, Swain officially declared a surplus of $900,000, which was coupled with a declaration of $100,000 earlier in the month.

The leftover funds come from Swain’s division within the Butler County Clerk of Courts office. Her division consists of the county car titling office. For every car title issued, there is a $15 dollar fee paid by the owner. This fee was raised in 2009 to its current amount, which Swain believes dramatically increased the funds she accrued in her budget.

“The change in the law that increased the fee to $15 is what largely contributed to the excess, along with payroll readjustments within my own office,” Swain said.

According to Swain, this practice of distributing excess funds to the county general fund was in action earlier this year when the county auditor gave back thousands of dollars as well.

“It was the right thing to do. There is a shortage within the county general fund and hopefully this will go to saving jobs within the county,” Swain said.

Butler County Commissioner Charles R. Furmon believes this will be a huge boost for the county.

“It helps out a great deal. She knows the severity of the downturn in the economy and knows that this actually equates to making jobs,” Furmon said.

Furmon said this excess helps to stabilize the shortage in the general fund, which gets its money primarily from sales tax.

“Revenues [from sales taxes] are down to a point where we hope it levels out and they start back up. And instead of buying her office new printers, Swain chose to help out the general fund,” Furmon said.

In the end, Furmon believes Swain is a shining example of how elected officials are working with their county counterparts to help keep the county from experiencing damaging effects of the recession.

“She’s definitely being a team player and the overall team effort within the county is what we are trying to push,” Furmon said.

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