Once on the brink of financial ruin, Butler County has rebounded. Here are 6 things that prove it.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Stunning aerial view of downtown Hamilton

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

For several years Butler County officials have touted the strong financial rebound the county has made since the Great Recession, and the data support that.

The county was on the brink of financial ruin a decade ago when the recession hit, after years of bloated budgets, double-digit raises and free-wheeling spending.

Massive layoffs and program cuts were the result. The county set a course correction and now has a top-self Moody’s credit rating. Debt is set to be erased next year.

JOURNAL-NEWS INVESTIGATES
The Journal-News investigated the state of Butler County's financial health and threats to that health for a report that will be published Sunday in the Journal-News and on journal-news.com.

Some key economic indicators show the county and its residents have recovered nicely from the crippled economy.

The numbers tell the story:

• Foreclosures have dropped 75.5 percent from 3,166 in 2010 to 775 last year.

• Food stamp spending is down 35 percent from $73.5 million to $47.5 million.

• Sales taxes jumped almost 46 percent from $29.5 million to $43 million.

• Personal income is up 35 percent from $12.7 billion in 2007 to $17.1 billion in 2017.

• Unemployment dropped 50 percent from 9.3 percent to 4.6 percent.

• Car and boat titles are up almost 80 percent from 156,553 in 2010 to 280,883 last year.

RELATED: How saying ‘no’ helped Butler County avoid a financial crisis

The Great Recession caught the county by surprise in 2008. Miami University Economics Professor Bill Even said it was precipitated largely by banks making bad mortgage loans

He said there is some indication the economy might be slowing down, but can catastrophe happen again?

“I don’t personally see any flashing red lights about a financial crisis like we had in 2008,” Even said. “But at the same time nobody really saw that one coming either.”

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