County struggling to pay employees

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Show them the money.

Lawrence County Commissioners moved their regular weekly meeting from Thursday to Tuesday of next week.

The major item up for discussion will be money: Commissioners need to find $376,706 to make payroll through the end of the year. The next payday for county employees is Thursday —two days after commissioners will meet. That figure does not include $182,000 in other bills that have piled up, such as indigent defense attorney fees.

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“Hopefully by next Tuesday there will be more information and we will be able to see what we can do,” Commissioner Jason Stephens said.

One thing commissioners are still waiting on is word from other officeholders about any funds they might be able to contribute to make ends meet. A couple of weeks ago, commissioners sent other officeholders a letter asking if they had squirreled away any money that could be transferred to the general fund.

“We have not heard from many of them,” Stephens said.

Commissioners said the biggest concerns at the moment are the prosecutor’s office, sheriff’s office and the board of elections. According to projections from the auditor’s office, the prosecutor’s office needs an additional $61,990 to meet all of its payrolls through the end of the year; the sheriff’s office will need an additional $166,500 to pay its employees through December.

The board of elections will need an extra $52,073 for payroll.

The commission must also come up with $182,000 for indigent defense attorney’s fees.

The money worries are not likely to end Dec. 31.

Scioto County Sheriff

Marty Donini has sent a letter to Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton, advising him the cost of housing overflow inmates at his Portsmouth jail will cost more next year.

Right now Lawrence County has a contract guaranteeing 10 beds at the Scioto County Jail at a cost of $45 per inmate per day.

Next year the price will jump $3 per inmate per day. The fees for doctor and nurse visits and transportation are increasing as well.