Friday, September 11, 2009

Problems Are Everywhere....

The crunch is being felt everywhere. When are commissioners going to put the money where it is needed?????

Commissioners get hit again
POSTED: September 10, 2009 Save | Print | Email | Read comments | Post a comment Email: "Commissioners get hit again"
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LISBON - The prosecutor's office became the second county department to tell Columbiana County commissioners they need a whole lot more money to make it through the year without laying off staff.

County Prosecutor Robert Herron met Wednesday with commissioners and advised them he needs another $120,000 by December or he will be out of money, which should come as no surprise since he told them nine months ago his original budget appropriation wasn't enough to get him through the year.

Herron said he has been able to keep his office afloat by transferring money around, but it is getting to the point where there is nothing left to transfer.

Commissioners appropriated Herron $1.4 million in 2009, which is about $40,000 more than he spent last year. In this regard, Herron is slightly better off than county Sheriff Ray Stone, who is asking for $150,000 more after commissioners provided him with $30,000 less than was spent last year.

Of the $120,000 in additional funding being sought by Herron, he said $88,000 is needed for salaries and health insurance. Herron granted his 22 employees a 3 percent pay raise this year, which added $27,000 to his payroll costs.

"We've held the line (on personnel) and, in fact, we're operating with less, so we expect more out of the staff," he said.

Herron said the federal money they receive for handling child support cases was cut by $25,000, and the record number of foreclosures has depleted the special fund used for handling foreclosures, forcing him to subsidize it with other money.

Commission Chairman Penny Traina noted that the prosecutor's office spending was only 3.5 percent off where it should be as of Aug. 31 and that they would take his request under advisement, the same as the sheriff's.

Commissioners do have some money to work with after ending 2008 with a $1.5 million carry-over balance. They appropriated all but $679,000 of the surplus, which was held in reserve to spend throughout the year on an as-needed basis. The figure is currently $511,000.

On the other hand, commissioners learned in July the county's state Local Government Fund allocation for 2009 was being reduced by $363,000, which was money already being counted on in the budget. Not only that, but revenue generated by the two county sales taxes is running $56,000 behind budget estimates.

Herron doesn't anticipate any problems.

"They've asked me to work with them, and I've worked with them in the past and they've worked with me," he said.

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