County cash carryover rises

STEUBENVILLE -The Jefferson County commissioners reported the county ended up with more cash on hand in the budget at the end of 2012 than expected.

County Commissioner Thomas Graham said the county had a $2.3 million cash balance at the end of the year. After bills and other expense commitments are taken care of, the county has $1.2 million available to be included in the 2013 budget. The county has about $263,000 less in carryover money at the end of 2011.

Graham said the cash carryover “is a tribute to the fiscally conservative nature of the commissioners.”

He commended the county auditor’s office for being conservative in its revenue estimates and closely watching the county’s budget.

“This is good news heading into 2013,” said county Commissioner David Maple. “We still need to be really conservative.”

Maple said the county may not be in the same position come 2014. He said county departments did a good job staying within the budget amount allocated.

County Commissioner Tom Gentile said the financial condition of the county didn’t happen overnight.

“This is something that happened year after year with good fiscal management. We have kept the spending down and cut the (employee) rolls through attrition. I don’t want to lift the foot off the brake just yet.”

Graham he wants the commissioners to finalize the 2014 budget as soon as possible. Commissioners met with department heads in November to begin the budget process.

Two departments didn’t waste any time asking for funding.

The county’s Veterans Services Commission asked for $3,483 for new computer equipment. Veterans Services got one proposal for the equipment but the commissioners wanted at least two. The commissioners approved granting the commission money not to exceed $3,500.

Friendship Park asked for $25,000 for operational funds for the first two to three months of the year. The county last year gave the park $18,000 but granted the park $20,000 this year so far with money from the carryover funds.

Commissioners also granted the county’s port authority $18,750 for one-fourth of the $75,000 the county has provided in past years for economic development. Commissioners announced the amount was going to be increased to $100,000 this year. Commissioners said the port authority needed the quarterly distribution of money to get the authority up and running.

Commissioners also signed paperwork stating substantial completion of an energy-savings program. The county took out a $1.3 million loan during a 17-year period through the state for Johnson Controls to install energy saving equipment, such as lights, low-flush toilets and heating,ventilation and air conditioning equipment, at various county buildings.

Johnson Controls has guaranteed the county will save more in energy bills than the cost of the loans.

The county is expected to save between $100,000 and $130,000 a year through the program.

Commissioners also:

Agreed to advertise for engineering consultants for water tank repairs in Bergholz and East Springfield. The county has established annual tank inspections and a repair program for the 16 water tanks around the county.

Were informed by the county water and sewer department that work is nearing completion on the Crestview-Belvedere sewer project. The county may allow residents to start connecting to the sewer system toward the end of March.

Signed the deed transfer of 4.8 acres of land at the county’s industrial park to Northeast Ohio Premiere Pump. The company is expected to have 12 to 15 employees, and concentrate on the gas and oil drilling industry. The land was sold for $10,000 an acre.

Received only one bid for a 2001 Mercedes-Benz car confiscated by the county’s drug task force. Sulli Motors of Ambridge, Pa., submitted a bid of $2,678.

Announced the board will hold a reorganization meeting at 11 a.m. Monday.