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Stephens calls for 7.5 percent cut in salaries

Lawrence County Commissioner Jason Stephens is expected to present today a draft of the county’s 2010 general fund budget for review and eventual passage.

To make ends meet the $13,216,177 general fund spending plan calls for a 7.5 percent cut in salaries for all offices except road deputies at the sheriff’s office.

The 2010 draft budget is smaller than budgets in previous years, thanks to dwindling revenues. It is more than $2 million less than what was spent in 2007.

The funding will be level for such essentials as the Veterans Service Office, the 4-H office and the Lawrence Soil and Water Conservation District.

Several cost savings or potential cost savings are factored into Stephens’ plan.

The Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Services contract for the coming year is $1.024 — $260,000 less than this year.

Stephens also anticipates saving $25,000 through precinct realignment at the board of elections and $75,000 by consolidating the sheriff’s office and 911 dispatch services.

The 2010 proposed budget uses some one-time sources of revenue to make ends meet, such as the sale of the county’s ambulance buildings.

Stephens warned that these one-time funding sources will allow the county to operate in the black for the coming year, but he expressed concern about 2011 and 2012 when these one-time revenues streams are not available.

The commission meets at 9:30 a.m. on the third floor of the Lawrence County Courthouse.