Harrison officials look to state for budget shortfall funding

CADIZ – Scott Blackburn, director of the Harrison County Department of Job and Family Services, asked the county commissioners to approve a resolution allowing his office to apply for additional funds from the state.

The director explained the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has established a mechanism allowing counties with budget shortfalls to apply for and obtain additional funding from counties with surplus funding.

“The state looks at all 88 counties as one unit,” Blackburn said. “This new policy will allow all DJFS in the state with funds left over at the end of the fiscal year the opportunity to transfer funds to counties with shortages.”

Commissioner Don Bethel asked who would make the decisions on dispersing of funds.

“If there was one county with leftover funds and three counties applying for that money, who decides how much money goes to those counties,” he asked.

“The directors association is currently working on that,” Blackburn replied. “My guess is that they will go equally or proportionately.”

Resolution 21-14 authorizing the director to be the signing agent passed after the discussion on the details of the agreement.

Blackburn also asked the commissioners to approve a contract with the Harrison County prosecutor to “finish up some children services cases that we have.” The current attorney under contract, Marie E. Seiber, is acting as guardians ad litem for several children under county care. The guardians ad litem’s job is to investigate the family situation by talking to all the relevant family members and submit a report to the court stating what he or she believes is in the best interest of the child and as such cannot also act as independent legal counsel for the child.

Contract 5-14 will run for a period through Oct. 31 for an amount not to exceed $6,000.

John Bishop addressed the commissioners on the road conditions for county Road 46 near Jewett, specifically the section of road from Cadiz Junction to township Road 173, which Bishop states is in hazardous condition and he cited a recent incident where his wife had hit a pothole on the road that damaged a tire causing a flat. County Engineer Rob Sterling explained the section in question is under a Road Use and Maintenance Agreement and the company had been promising repairs and paving of the surface since April.

Sterling agreed to contact American Energy Partners about the potholes and road damage.

Sterling also asked for permission to advertise on Aug. 6 and 13 for a salt supplier. The bids will be opened on Aug. 20.

MarkWest representative Jerry Koustoumbardis brought an amendment to an earlier agreement relocating a pipeline right of way near U.S. Route 250 on county property. The pipeline which will access the Knight well is being rerouted due to bordering landowners and shifts from the northern boundary to the southern boundary of the parcel adding 1100 feet to the lease. The commissioners tabled the request for one week to review the changes.

The board also tabled a RUMA with Cardinal gas that had incorrectly listed the names of the commissioners.

Sheriff Joe Myers reminded citizens the Reverse 911 system is available at no charge to sign up. The link for the system is located on the sheriff’s web page, and he encouraged everyone to take a few minutes and sign up.

The sheriff also reminded the board the monthly shale safety meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at the Puskarich Public Library in Cadiz.

Auditor Patrick Moore told the board sales taxes were down for June in the county.

The board also appropriated $170,000 into Ohio Housing Trust Fund account and $1,800 into Ohio Housing Trust administration fees.