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Commissioners opt to take care of county budget deficits before paying law library bills

By Carol McIntire

Carroll County commissioners agreed to pay just over $19,000 in bills for the law library Monday and then rescinded the motion becasue they aren’t sure where  the funds could come from.

Commissioners Doyle Hawk, Tom Wheaton and Jeff Ohler all voted yes on a motion to pay $19,144.69 after hearing an explanation from Ohler that purchase orders totaling that amount were over 90 past due.

“We need to pay these even though they are not our fault and we do not have any responsibility to pay them,” Ohler said noting the commissioners’ only obligation to the law library is to provide office space and a phone.

“I am willing to help them, but are they going to help themselves?” Wheaton asked, to which Ohler replied, “They need to cancel contracts for next year to get their budget in line.”

Commissioner Ohler left the meeting early to attend another scheduled meeting so he was not present when members of the media were permitted to ask questions. When asked where they planned to find $19,000 to pay the bill, commissioners Hawk and Wheaton said they don’t know.

“It better not come out of the county’s oil and gas lease money,” Wheaton said. “Maybe Jeff has it figured out. I don’t know where we have any money in our commissioners budget.”

After returning to session later in the afternoon, Wheaton made the motion to rescind the motion to pay the law library bills and Hawk seconded. All three commissioners then agreed to approve paying the bill if they find out the county can accommodate all the deficits within county office holder’s general fund budgets and there is sufficent funds left over to pay the law library bills.

Commissioners identified a shortfall of at least $14,000 in the recorder’s budget and over $60,000 in the sheriff’s budget after conducting budget review hearings. 

Richard Rumbaugh, representing the law library, visited commissioners in February to discuss a projected shortfall in the budget for 2012. At that time, commissioners indicated they would provide assistance if their budget permitted.

In another money matter, commissioners discussed a request from Recorder Patricia Oyer to cover a shortfall of  $14,595 in her salary budget. Commissioner Wheaton, who was unable to attend the budget review meeting with Oyer last week, asked if her request included a breakdown of costs.

When Ohler replied, “no,” Wheaton asked if Oyer paid her employees overtime pay at the rate of time and half for anything they worked over 35 hours.

Commissioner Hawk replied he believed that was the case, and Wheaton noted employees can only be paid time and a half for hours worked over a 40-hour week. They agreed to check on the matter with the proper personnel  and did not take action on the request.

In other business, commissioners:
-SIGNED the Title 20 fund expenditure plan for the Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS) as was requested by Director Kate Offenberger. The county’s allocation is $357,694.

The only addition to this year’s plan is for education to help fund the GED program for those who may be eligible for it under other programs.

-SIGNED a contract for the county to participate in a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) collaborate program with Area 16 (Carroll, Jefferson, Harrison and Belmont counties) and Area 6 (Stark and Tuscarawas counties) that will provide for a director, administrative assistant and four employees to be hired under a federal program to assist businesses in the Area 16 counties. One person will be assigned specifically to Carroll County.

-LEARNED from Ohio an oil and gas company has discovered a road that was established in 1838 in Wattsville but never platted as a roadway. He noted the county will likely receive a contract for an oil and gas lease for the property.

-IMPOSED the frost law as requested by Engineer David Miskimen to reduce the weight limit on county roads 25 percent retroactive to Dec. 1 through May 1, 2013.

-APPROVED a road use maintenance agreement (RUMA) with Chesapeake Exploration to use a portion of Avon Rd. in Washington and Fox townships for ingress and egress to the Krichbaum well site.

-AGREED to accept bids for the construction of an 18-hole golf course at Atwood Lake Resort and Golf Club and to clean land for the course. Bids are due Dec. 27 at 9 a.m. for both projects.

-LEARNED from Wheaton a company known as Teksolv has located in the area. The company provides safety training, equipment and supplies to oil and gas companies. They have leased a facility on Roswell Rd. Wheaton said the company is offering to train local fire departments and sell safety equipment and supplies to them.

-CONDUCTED budget review hearing with Oyer, Board of Elections officials, Sheriff Dale Williams, Child Enforcement Agency and Clerk of Courts Bill Wohlwend.  

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