Commissioners wary of budget

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Guests inquired about the future of the county during Wednesday’s meeting of the Belmont County commissioners.

A guest asked about the salary range of the new director of the Department of Job and Family Services. Commissioner Ginny Favede said the salary depends on the quality and experience of the candidate. A specific range has not been set. In answer to another question, the commissioners received the legal opinion that they may not require that the new director be a county resident. County employees may not be required to reside in any particular part of the state except in relation to emergency response services.

Favede confirmed that there will be no disruption of senior services through the transition.

Other guests inquired about the governor’s budget and how it might impact Belmont County. Favede said she has reservations concerning changes in the taxing process.

“We already struggle in Belmont County to get school levies passed. The changes to this particular is going to make the passing of a school levy or any new levy more difficult than ever,” she said, adding that the budget would result in an increase of 12 percent on new levies due to the elimination of the 12-percent property tax rollback.

Favede added that the commissioners have been working with the school districts with the goal of seeking funding for resource officers.

Among prospective project that might be stalled is the proposed transition of the Martins Ferry Public Library into a county library.

“With the loss of local government funds we’re being forced to put off levies to increase funds to offer services,” she said.

However, she noted the proposed severance tax has not been placed on the budget. There was considerable local opposition from the impacted counties.

Commissioners motioned to approve the re-appointment of John Shaver to the Mental Health and Recovery Board for a four-year term effective July 1, 2013-June 30, 2017.

Commissioners motioned to accept an estimate for services for Barr Surveying of Morristown in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for surveying approximately 16 acres around the Tacoma garage and to survey the remaining area into one parcel.

Commissioners motioned to accept a quote from Doan Ford, Inc. in the amount of $38,329.50 including a temporary tag and title for the purchase of one new 2013 Ford F150 4X4 with Hot Shot package to be used for meal delivery for senior services of Belmont County. The vehicle will be purchased with senior services levy funds.

Commissioners motioned to approve and sign a memorandum of agreement for the deposit of public funds with United Bank, Inc. for a four-year period beginning July 1, 2013 and ending June 30, 2017.

Commissioners motioned to adopt the resolution declaring the necessity of levying a tax in excess of the 10-mill limitation and requesting the county auditor certify matters in connection therewith regarding the 1.5 mill senior services levy renewal.

Commissioner Matt Coffland was authorized to execute the WIA Local Area 16 subgrant agreement with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services for the 2014/2015 State Fiscal Biennium effective July 1, 2013-June 30, 2015.

Favede was authorized to execute a budget request on behalf of Oakview Juvenile Residential Center for the Ohio Department of Youth Services in the amount of $1,028,757.02 for Fiscal Year 2014 beginning July 1, 2013 and ending June 30, 2014. This grant provides the operating money for the facility. There is no match required.

Commissioners motioned to approve and sign an easement and right-of-way for American Electric Power Company for electric and other current and future energy or communication purposes through and across county property located in Richland Township. This easement is along County Road 84, Oakview Road. The purpose of the line is to increase reliability in the area and reduce outage time.

In other matters, the commissioners were invited to a town hall meeting at the Martins Ferry City Building July 16, 5:30 p.m. State Rep. Jack Cera will attend.

DeFrank can be reached at