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New extension budget provides county with ‘more bang for the buck’

By Carol McIntire
Editor

For a little over $8,000 above the amount Carroll County Commissioners appropriated for extension services in 2013, the county is in line to receive a significantly beefed-up program.

Jacqueline Wilkins, regional director for OSU Extension, visited county commissioners last week with a new budget proposal and news that Carroll County’s program coordinator, Ryan Pape, is resigning effective March 1.

 She proposed a new budget plan, using the $88,000 commissioners appropriated for extension services, that would provide the county with a full time 4-H educator and a full time agriculture and natural resources (ANR) agent as well as part-time office assistant.

“This proposed budget adjustment of $8,125 would allow us to fill the 4-H position with an educator and increase the ANR education to full time,” she said. “If this increase is awarded, I could begin the hiring process for the two positions immediately.”

Under the new plan, the county would be responsible for $27,500 of the salary of the first educator and $40,000 of the cost of the second educator as well as the salary of an office assistant ($12,500). OSU would pay the benefit package for both agents and the county would pay $5,625 for benefits for the office assistant. Operating expenses to be paid by the county include $1,500 for postage, $4,000 for supplies and $5,000 for travel and training.

Commissioners approved the increase, pending the availability of funds, and promised to review the budget that afternoon.

“The identity of Carroll County is rooted in agriculture and 4-H helps develop our future leaders,” said Commissioner Bob Wirkner expressing his support for the change in the program.

Commissioner Tom Wheaton updated Wilkins on the path extension has taken in Carroll County the last few years, outlining the efforts of local residents to raise funds to hire a program coordinator and support the program.

“At one point, a former commissioner stopped payment on $90,000 for extension and we know OSU was out that amount of money,” Wheaton said. “I understand Ryan sent some of the local money to OSU and I want to make sure that money is not going toward that debt.”

“ A lot of counties had funding issues that resulted in a deficit,” Wilkins replied. “When there is a deficit, we would like to be paid back over a period of time but I can assure you that money is not going to come out of local funds for fundraising money.”

Wilkins said she would move forward with advertising for the positions as soon as she read back from commissioners. “I already have very qualified and interested people in the ANR position. I think that office over there is going to be jammin’ soon!”

“That’s refreshing,” Wheaton replied.

In other business, commissioners:
-HELD a lengthy discussion with Dog Warden Ken Ohler over the dog pound.  Ohler said he was unhappy to read about the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals desire to have the gas chamber shut down in local newspapers. 

“They don’t even have a chapter in Ohio,” he said, adding he was not happy that he wasn’t contacted for his opinion on the matter.

“Ohler said he was extremely proud of the fact that he euthanized only two dogs all of last year.

“There were some other dogs that maybe should have been put down, but there were adopted out and somewhere along the way they were put down outside our facility. I think we have one of the best records in the whole damn country.”

“We have a little lack of candor here,” Wirkner told Ohler. “I did go to the dog pound and discussed the wishes of the SPCA with you,” he said. “We walked about signing a contract with another county to euthanize any dogs we had that needed to be put down and dismantling the dog pound. It’s not fair to say you weren’t in the loop when in fact you were.”

Ohler said he is not in favor of using needle to euthanize dogs. “Too many things can go wrong,” he said. “One slip of the needle and it jabs you; you can bend over and kiss your _ _ _ goodbye.”

Wirkner said the county must explore the most humane method of euthanasia for the animals. “Right now, I believe the most preferred method for us is to contract with another county and to transport the animal to their site,” he said.


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