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Jail, BOE to get portion of new budget appropriation

An additional $400,000 has been added to the 2012 Lawrence County budget and already more than half of it has been allocated to county offices by the county commission.

According to the auditor’s office, the increased revenue comes from three sources: taxes from the state’s new casinos; money anticipated from the sale of a building currently leased by Shawnee Mental Health and the remainder of the funds in the payment in lieu of taxes account from Wayne National Forest.

So far the county has received $54,000 from the taxes levied on two of the four state casinos. Already casinos in Cleveland and Toledo have opened, with one in Columbus scheduled for operation in October. The Cincinnati casino is set to open next spring.

Thirty-three percent of the casinos’ gross revenue is going to all 88 counties with individual county distribution made quarterly according to population.

October’s distribution for Lawrence County is expected to be an additional $120,000.

Right now the county leases a building in Coal Grove to Shawnee Mental Health that its governing board plans to buy for $120,000. And the remaining $117,000 comes from funds that the Wayne National Forest pays to the county instead of paying taxes.

The sheriff’s office will get $130,000 of that appropriated amount: $70,000 for jail operation; $50,000 for supplies and $10,000 for contract repairs.

“That will certainly help, but it is a drop in the bucket for what we need to operate throughout the year,” Sheriff Jeff Lawless said. “Money was transferred from my account to the farm and other things to keep those projects afloat. Now it is time I need money to keep the jail operating.”

The additional money will pay for out-of-county housing of prisoners, food and medical costs, Lawless said. None is expected to go toward salaries.

However $40,700 of the additional appropriation will cover salaries at the board of elections with an extra $5,700 for those employees’ pension fund and $54,500 will go toward salaries at the prosecutor’s office with an additional $7,600 for those employees’ pension.

The remaining $161,500 was not allocated at Thursday’s county commission meeting.

Also at the meeting Commission President Les Boggs and Commissioner Bill Pratt expressed their condolences to the family of Commissioner Freddie Hayes Jr. Hayes’ father was killed in a car accident on Wednesday. Boggs included the Hayes family in the opening prayer he gave at the meeting.

In other action the commissioners:

• Received correspondence from the county engineer denying a petition to establish Private Drive 123 as a township road since it did not meet the Ohio Revised Code requirements;

• Authorized the county engineer to submit applications to participate in the Ohio Public Works Commission capital improvement programs to receive funding for road paving;

• Received the weekly dog warden’s report where 20 dogs were destroyed; 10 sold and none redeemed. There were 88 dogs in custody that week.