Government Month begins

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Belmont County commissioners announced this week the start of National County Government Month to raise awareness and understanding about the roles and responsibilities of county government.

This year’s theme is “Smart Justice: Creating Safer Communities.”

“The county provides a variety of services to residents,” said Commissioner Ginny Favede. “Many of those services focus on protecting communities. The county prepares for and works to prevent natural disasters, terrorist attacks, crime and drug abuse. The county also works to protect families, children, and youth. County government month gives us an opportunity to show how we protect communities, as well as provide other services.”

The goal is to educate and allow citizens to better understand the functions of county government and how tax dollars are spent. During the course of the month, a different department will be presented weekly at the regular commissioners meeting to speak about their programs, services and responsibilities.

The first featured guest was Cindy McGee, Belmont Clerk of Courts. Her office is responsible for civil and criminal suits, notaries, jury information, and assisting with the legal office and the Title Office. A satellite office has opened in Bellaire.

The satellite office is open two days per week and sees about 350 titles a month.

They are exploring the possibility of a Barnesville office as well.

There is a total staff of seven each in the legal and title offices. Currently an abundance of visitors are utilizing the office for oil and gas research.

In addition, the offices are receiving requests for old files stored off location. They see about 35 to 40 visitors daily.

“It is a very, very busy office as all of us are, and we all work very well together,” she said.

She added that the department’s Web site can be found at and has been well-received and sees frequent traffic.

On April 9, Judge Mark Costine will report on the juvenile and probate courts. Sheriff Dave Lucas will also present a report.

April 17 will feature Auditor Andrew Sutak. April 23 will feature Belmont County 911 Interim Director Bryan Minder.

DeFrank can be reached at