Sen. Carey listens to county concerns

Published 11:27 am Friday, February 20, 2009

State Sen. John Carey, met with concerned county officials at the Lawrence County Commissioner’s office Monday.

Commissioner Les Boggs invited Carey and facilitated the meeting.

Six groups from different parts of the county were in attendance and discussed matters that were important to them.

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The following are submitted minutes from the meeting:

There was a discussion on Gov. Ted Strickland’s budget proposal to raise the fees on nursing home beds.

Currently, the fee is about $6.50 per bed per day whether or not the bed is empty or occupied. The governor’s proposal could increase that fee as much as $11.50 per bed per day.

Jolinda Heaberlin reported that could cost her nursing facility as much as $ 667,000 per year. This could cause a strain on any business.

Echoing her remarks was Ron Lyons, owner and operator of River’s Bend in Burlington.

Also in attendance on this matter was David Dixon, administrator of Sunset in Coal Grove. Jean Dalton, financial manager of Jo Lin’s, offered questions and comments on the matter.

Heaberlin gave a handout to those in attendance that described the issue.

Gene Myers, Director of LCDJFS, commented on the proposed budget shortfalls on matters related to his department.

He and Sen. Carey seemed to be in total agreement on matters related to foster care, day care, children’s services, and other monies. Senator Carey said he would disperse a handout to his colleagues. Commissioner Doug Malone also commented on the subject.

Sheriff Jeff Lawless asked Carey questions about relief for sheriffs’ offices and jail expenses in particular.

Carey told him there is some extra money available for the drug task force. Sheriff Lawless was very concerned about the availability of prison beds for counties. He said it is now becoming increasing more difficult to place jail inmates. Senator Carey said he would look in to the matter.

Ralph Kline, from the Ironton-Lawrence County CAO was in attendance and commented about the possibilities of the federal stimulus monies.

He asked Sen. Carey how the money would flow through the state to reach local entities. Carey discussed the way he thought the stimulus money would be distributed.

Rich Blankenship, the mayor of Ironton, attended along with Bill Dickens of the Ironton Port Authority. A brief history of the IPA was given to the audience followed by questions on ODOT funding for our district and for the sewer project.

Sen. Carey gave an opinion of organizing theatre owners of other areas together and then apply for money for the old Rona.

Boggs ended the meeting with a discussion of Local Government Funds.

Senator Carey said the percentage rate would not change this year but contributions to counties would be decreased if state collections were decreased.