Harrison makes plans for fiscal year 2013

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, and Commissioner Barbara Pincola tempered the meetings when she stated that 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,” Commissioner 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 in their 2013 budgets.

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

“Only for the benefit of the people who are not familiar with the budget process,” Attorney Pincola explained. “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.”

“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,” Pincola said.

“A good example of that is that there is no way the engineer’s office could operate on $5,000,” Commissioner Barbara Pincola illustrated. “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 $141,500.00, Election Board $173,459.64, Engineer $5,000, Prosecuting Attorney $255,913.62, Public Defender $153,152.22, Sheriff $754,882.70. and Veterans $127,492.00.

Harrison County Sheriff Ron Myers told the board that the increase in his budget was due to the cost of housing prisoners in the county jail. A grant which 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 CR 10 reconstruction project for $504,875.

At the recommendation of Joyce Brown of DJFS, the board approved hiring Tina Ray for the vacant ERS 1 position. Brown told the board that Ray had previously worked as an ERS 1 for the county but was laid off in 2009.

Commissioners passed resolution 15-12 allowing the Port Authority of Columbiana County to hold a public hearing by the Port Authority on Oct. 1 to modify the solid waste revenue bonds originally loaned to Liberty Waste Transportation LLC and now known as ELS Transportation LLC.

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. on Oct. 1 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 that there will be a Household Hazardous Waste Collection on Saturday, Oct. 6, 9 a.m. to noon at the Harrison County Highway Garage off Ohio 9 north of Cadiz.

Palmer may be reached at mpalmer@timesleaderonline.com