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Harrison conducts budget hearing

September 27, 2012
By MICHAEL PALMER - Special to the Herald-Star , The Herald-Star

CADIZ - Harrison County commissioners met with department heads Wednesday and held a budget hearing for fiscal year 2013.

County Auditor Patrick Moore was vacationing and not present for the hearings.

Commissioner Barbara Pincola tempered the meetings when she stated the county had not yet been issued a budget certificate for the 2013 fiscal year.

"What our problem is going to be is that today we are listening and taking everybody's requests," Pincola stated, adding that with two seats on the board up for election in November, the decision has been made to wait on approval hearings. "Then after the elections, we will bring those people in and try to make them part of the process and hopefully we will approve the budget before the end of the year so there will be a smooth transition."

The total requested general fund budget amount for 2013 is $3,423,291.93, which is an increase of $239,472 from 2012. All departments, with the exception of the engineer's office and coroner, showed a slight increase.

Public Defender Adrian Pincola explained during his budget hearings that his department is unique in the process because of funding sources.

"What was presented here are just general funds. The majority of these offices have some dramatically higher special revenue funds. It is always confusing because of what the newspaper puts in today because it is just the general budget, so it looks like some people have more than other offices but it does not include their dramatically larger special revenue budgets," attorney Pincola explained.

"Because we are the bizarre hybrid of county offices, all of our budget is in the general fund, although 46 percent of it is coming out of other sources, but it has to be shown out of general funds," he said.

"A good example of that is that there is no way the engineer's office could operate on $5,000," Commissioner Pincola said. "They are funded through the gas tax and other special revenue monies."

The 2013 requests submitted to the board are as follows:

Auditor, $184,636.00.

Clerk of Court, $145,937.14.

Commissioners, $1,085,968.36.

Common Pleas (general), $153,487.64.

Common Pleas (juvenile), $101,121.00.

Coroner $29,903.85.

County court, $141,500.

Elections board, $173,459.64.

Engineer, $5,000.

Prosecuting attorney, $255,913.62.

Public defender, $153,152.22.

Sheriff, $110,837.76.

Veterans, $127,492.00.

Harrison County Sheriff Ron Myers told the board the increase in his budget is due to the cost of housing prisoners in the county jail. A grant that had covered the costs the past two years has expired and the sheriff asked the county to increase his budget up from $554,882.70 last year.

In other business:

At the request of Doug Crabtree representing the engineer's office, the board awarded Lash Paving the county Road 10 reconstruction project for $504,875.

At the recommendation of Joyce Brown of the Department of Job and Family Services, the board approved hiring Tina Ray for the vacant position. Brown told the board Ray previously worked for the county but was laid off in 2009.

Commissioners passed resolution allowing the Columbiana County Port Authority to hold a public hearing on Monday to modify the solid waste revenue bonds originally loaned to Liberty Waste Transportation and now known as ELS Transportation.

According to a legal advertisement placed in the paper about the public hearing, the $19 million bond was part of a plan to finance the costs of acquiring a solid waste disposal facility, including up to 1,400 sealed waste containers to be used for municipal solid waste and construction demolition debris.

The MSW landfill is located in the northeast corner of Harrison County and western edge of Jefferson County. Additionally, the project included the improvements of a rail line known as the Piney Fork Rail Line, part of which is located in Harrison and the remainder in Jefferson County.

Tony Cossentino, chief financial officer of ELS, and Russell Balthis, an attorney representing the company, asked the commissioners to give approval for the public hearing to be held at 10 a.m. Monday at the Columbiana Port Authority office in East Liverpool. The pair assured the commissioners both their board and the Port Authority are only acting as a conduit and will be held under no obligation involving the debt owed.

Chris Jacobs, executive director of the Carroll-Columbiana-Harrison Solid Waste District, announced there will be a household hazardous waste collection from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 6 at the Harrison County Highway Garage off state Route 9 north of Cadiz.

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