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County taking advance on property tax

Today county employees get their biweekly paychecks from a payroll totaling $148,584.83. As of Thursday morning, however, there was less than $60,000 in cold, hard cash in the county coffers that cover those checks.

On top of that there are $508,908.49 in bills and vendors want their money now.

That is why at their Thursday meeting the Lawrence County Commissioners approved getting some of the property tax due them a couple of weeks earlier.

“We don’t have enough cash on hand to make payroll,” Lawrence County Auditor Jason Stephens said. “This will enable us to get an advance on the property tax.”

First half taxes were due on March 6 and typically are transferred out to the county, schools and villages after the treasurer’s and auditor’s offices reconcile the books. That can take two to three weeks.

But with the commission’s actions, the auditor’s office can now draw on 75 percent of the county’s share of the first half now.

“It is standard,” Stephens said. “A lot of times we have had to take an advance earlier than now. We hope not to take an advance, but that’s not going to happen.”

The reason for needing the extra cash now is there are more expenses than revenue for the first three months of the year.

“That is why it is important to have a larger carryover than what we have been having,” he said. “By taking this advance, it puts us into a solvent position. However, it is my opinion, it would be better to wait until that settlement is actually done. It is not spending irresponsibly. It is the timing of the expenses versus the timing of our revenue. A lot of it comes at the beginning of the year.”

In other action the commission:

• Approved demolition agreements for First Baptist Church of South Point to tear down a frame house on the site, Lester and Vickie Meehling of Proctorville, Brian Davis of County Road 123, Eric Floyd of State Route 141, Philip Brown of County Road 14, Waterloo and Burkle Brumfield Jr. of Waterloo.