After months of crossing their fingers, Huron County commissioners say they're confident county employees can return to working 40-hour weeks by January.
The auditor remains cautiously optimistic, however, pointing to the unknowns in the state budget and local government funding.
Sales tax revenue for October, reflecting sales in August, totaled $667,799, a 17 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
The county's total sales tax collection for the year is $6.2 million, nearly $400,000 more than the county received by this time last year.
"We're already at 96 percent of what we estimated for the year, with two months still to go," Huron County commissioner Mike Adelman said. "For nine out of the 10 months of the year, we've been higher than in 2009."
Sales tax revenue makes up about half of the county's general fund, officials said.
Although the numbers are still considerably lower than what the county brought in several years ago, Adelman said the improvement is a good indicator that people are spending their money once again.
The county skated on thin ice as it started 2009 with a cash balance of $870,000.
By the end of August 2009, officials realized they needed to cut spending by more than $500,000 and made the decision to reduce the workweek to 36 hours for the 60 employees paid through the county's general fund.
It also meant residents who needed anything from property records to dog tags on a Friday afternoon would have to wait until the following Monday.
"I'm sure it caused some inconvenience to residents, and I'd express my thanks for their patience," Adelman said. "We're really happy -- we've worked hard to stabilize the budget, and I believe that's what we've done."
Huron County auditor Roland Tkach said although the county is faring better than last year, officials won't know for sure what they have to work with in 2011 until December.
He's submitted two preliminary budgets: One that factors in a 40-hour workweek, and another that assumes they'll continue working 36 hours.
"The bottom line is, if commissioners are committed to 40 hours, they'll have to give me the money so I can afford to do it," he said.