Stark’s budget shows modest improvement
By John A. Ballentine
Stark County’s budget indicates a fund balance in 2016 of approximately $13,000 in excess revenue over expenditures. According to auditor Ron Hilton, “You did make some expenditure reductions and although you experienced $113,000 in revenues, you had a small excess for the year.”
Revenue reductions occurred from 2015 because of lost county sales taxes. Expenditures were decreased, many which were with the Sheriff’s office. Total county expenditures decreased in 2016 by $259,000 from $890,000 to $631,000.
Sheriff Steven Sloan vented his frustration with the budget process this year when queried about the higher amount of overtime his office has incurred this year compared with last year at this time. “I’m trying to keep my budget under control, then I get a call every two weeks saying ‘We gotta do something, we gotta do something’…,” Sloan stated.
“I’m tired of you two [county board chair Coleen Magnussen and vice-chair Fulvio Zerla] meeting [with one another]. If you have a problem with me, then go to my police committee,” Sloan stated.
“We’ve had a lot of crap going on,” was Sloan’s response for the increased overtime his office has experienced this year. At that point, Sloan reacted to Zerla’s apparent reaction to his answer. He told Zerla, “Look at me and talk with me.”
Magnussen and Zerla pointed out that the sheriff’s office salaries are at $23,000 more than last year. Sloan responded that the overtime is with part-time employees.
Because of budget cuts, Sloan has had to hire and seeks to hire more part-time employees.
Later the next day, Magnussen issued an email to the county board members that has been supplied to The News. Magnussen wrote, “The Sheriff’s department [sic: Office] budget is in trouble, and the Sheriff’s performance at the [county board] meeting last night indicates to me things are out of control in the Sheriff’s Department [sic: Office].
Magnussen next split the police committee of board members Bill Loane and Al Curry into two parts: the police subcommittee and the buildings and grounds subcommittee. In addition, newly appointed board member from Tuesday night, Robin Lindner, has been made chair of both subcommittees with Loane on the police subcommittee and Curry on the buildings and grounds subcommittee.
Lindner was appointed to a vacant board seat after Jamie Shaffer decided not to run for re-election. That board seat has been open since last December. Lindner recently lost her bid for re-election to Bradford’s village board after four years in that capacity.
In other action, Duane Stevens, of the Henry-Stark Health Department presented the board with an explanation of what the health department provides Stark County.
Fire district trustee appointments were made at the lengthy May 9 county board meeting. In 2016: James Champion, William Winans, Gary Steward and Ross Elsasser were appointed, which had not occurred last year. For 2017: J. William Ellis, Ross Walker, John Boarman and Myron Rewerts were appointed.
Stark County Engineer Mark Otten reported to the board that the South Valley Road had been damaged by recent heavy rains. Also, the North Valley Road will remain closed through the end of July for a reconstruction project.