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Passing budget postponed

Next Tuesday is the earliest a 2015 general fund budget can be passed by the Lawrence County Commissioners.

Without a budget, no county employee can be paid on Jan. 2.

During the commissioners’ reports at their Thursday meeting, Commissioner Bill Pratt said that he had a budget to present.

“But talking with Freddie (Hayes Jr.) and Les (Boggs), we will wait to see what the budget commission does on Monday,” Pratt said.

Then the commissioners voted on meeting in special session on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. to pass the general fund budget. If that happens, they will pass the special funds budget at their regular Thursday meeting.

Commissioner Hayes and Commission President Boggs want an additional $500,000 certified by the budget commission to raise the amount the county can spend to $11.2 million.

Before any money can be appropriated by the county, the budget commission must certify that it is there now or will be before the end of the year.

In October, the budget commission certified $10.7 million, a certification at least one member of the commission, County Auditor Jason Stephens, believes should stand.

Boggs and Hayes want the extra half-million dollars to facilitate moving the county jail to a state-owned facility in Franklin Furnace, an action designed to eliminate the current overcrowding at the Lawrence jail.

Pratt would like to see the sheriff move to the new facility with his current level of staffing and increase that when more funds are available.

On Monday, the budget commission plans to meet possibly to discuss whether the certification should be raised. While Stephens opposes it, County Treasurer Stephen Burcham and County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson have said it could be increased.

In other action the county commissioners:

• Approved awarding a Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization grant of $1,800 to install a pavilion at the Ironton Spray Park;

• Approved a resolution allowing the county engineer to proceed with normal maintenance and repairs of county roads;

• Authorized the county engineer to apply for participating in the Ohio Public Works Commission State Improvement Local Transportation programs.