Commissioners discuss county fiscal future at Wednesday meeting
By Taylor Kaser
Commissioner Tom Whiston discussed the budget at the commissioners’ March 21 regular meeting, explaining the budget is still expected to be finished by April 1.
“We don’t know what we’re going to receive for funding yet,” Commissioner Olen Jackson said, responding to a question from the audience about local government funding.
Bob Sutherland asked the commissioners what long term advice they have for the budget?
Whiston answered that currently the county doesn’t have a strong ability to increase revenue.
“The only thing we can do is try to control our costs.” He explained that income from interest on county money has all but dried up.
“Last year though, sales tax in the county was up,” said Whiston.
“Local government, as it is, is not sustainable.” Jackson explained, “We’re really at the mercy of the Ohio Revised Code.” He noted that the state mandates requirements to the county, but doesn’t provide funding to carryout the mandates.
Whiston explained the need to consolidate offices. Cuyahoga County was cited, as it has changed to a different form of local government, a council form, aiding in their efficiency.
Money left to be appropriated amounts to $163,000, said Clerk Charisse Gruber. That money will need to be split between needs at the courthouse, jail, and placement costs. She stated that other costs, such as insurance are near $163,000 already.
Repairs to the generator at the correctional facility were approved. A quote from Buckeye Power Sales was accepted for $4,163.09.
Steve Hart was reappointed to serve on the Morrow Metropolitan Housing Authority Board for a five year term.
Reappointments of William Kreeger, April Appleman, John Yust, and Dan Rogers were approved to the Morrow County Regional Planning Commission. Their new terms will be effective until March 25, 2014.
Two applications were approved by the Water & Sewer Improvement Program Loan Review Committee and construction contracts were approved at the commissioners March 26 meeting.
The first contract, awaiting approval from the EPA, is with Crum & Parsons Excavating, Inc. for construction in Harmony Twp. The second contract is for a job in Congress Twp. with J-Neal Construction LLC.
The Water & Sewer Improvement Program provides financing for eligible property owners for repairing or replacing existing on-site sewer systems.
Whiston cited an article he read in a different media stating that the average motorist spends an average of $400 on vehicle repairs a year when driving on bad roads.
He cited an additional $10 license plate fee as a way to increase funding for road improvements in the county. “Pay $10 and save $400, sounds like a good investment to me.” he reasoned.
Citizen Donna Carver voiced concerns over an injection well on Co. Rd. 9 which she thinks may be leaking. She stated that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ website is difficult to glean information from and that none of her calls or emails have been answered. She stated she would also like to know how many brine injection wells are in the county.