• 63°

Commission wants study on spending study

Lawrence County Commissioners have sounded the alarm several times now about the county's finances, now they're asking for proof of potential problems.

The commissioners have asked Lawrence County Chief Deputy Auditor Chris Kline to prepare a report on how much the various offices are spending and, if each officeholder continues to spend at the current rate, how soon each office will run out of money.

"We've made a budget and we've told officeholders what that budget would be," Commissioner George Patterson said. "We've also made it clear there is no way we have to generate additional dollars, so we have to live within our budget. As soon as we get it (Kline's report), we'll let all officeholders know where they are at."

Kline said he should have the report completed in a few days. This is not the first time Kline said he has been asked to chart such financial courses.

"I did this back in 2004. I think it was August or September of 2004," he said.

The request comes after the county adopted a lean spending plan last month and amid concern that the state legislature will opt to balance its own budget by slashing Local Government Fund monies.

One senate plan calls for the state to slash its contributions to counties and municipalities by 20 percent, townships by 10 percent and libraries by 5 percent, with the cuts taking effect in the calendar year 2006.

Patterson also expressed concern about plans in Washington to cut Community Development Block Grant dollars. He said he hoped Ohio's elected officials in Washington would vote against any plans to slash federal CDBG funds at a time when local governments are struggling more than ever.

"This is one of our major tools," Patterson said. "This goes to fund quality of life projects such as water and sewer."