• 54°

Commissioners pass special funds budget

Without any discussion or comment the Lawrence County Commissioners passed at its Thursday meeting the special funds budget that finances such agencies as 911, the EMS, department of job and family services and the board of DD.

That follows the commissioners passing the general fund budget earlier this week. That means all Lawrence County employees should get paid next year.

Disputes arose in the past week on who has the authority to provide the official certification of revenue expected for 2015 — the county auditor alone or the budget commission, made up of the auditor, county treasurer and county prosecutor.

County auditor Jason Stephens contends he, as the fiscal officer, has the sole responsibility to provide the certification, without a vote by the budget commission.

The two other members of the budget commission — prosecutor Brigham Anderson and county treasurer Stephen Burcham — disagree. Because of that the budget commission has asked Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine for an opinion.

Stephens certified on Wednesday the anticipated revenue for the special funds without bringing it before the budget commission. Anderson questioned if the county commission could pass the special funds budget, leaving those employees without pay in January.

At its Thursday meeting, however, the commission passed that budget.

The commission also approved the three-year contract between the county engineer’s office and the Teamsters Local 92.

“That was the most professional negotiating session we ever had,” Doug Cade, county engineer, said. “We found common ground.”

Terms of the new contract remain the same, except for a cost of living raise. The first year that will be 2 percent; the next 1.8 percent, then 1.6 percent.

Hourly wages range from $19.40 to $19.95.

In other action the commission:

• Approved the airport capital improvement program update;

• Certified the retirement of Patricia Carter from the department of job and family services.