POMEROY — The Meigs County Commissioners took action on Thursday to put the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office on a quarterly spending plan after the office exceeded it’s 2019 budget allocation.
According to the commissioners, the sheriff’s office exceeded it’s allocation for 2019 by 71 percent, which was 17 percent above the original request for the 2019 allocation made by the sheriff’s office.
President of the Board of Commissioners Randy Smith read a resolution addressing the matter which was unanimously approved by the board.
The resolution reads as follows:
WHEREAS, 5705.392 (B)(2) OF THE OHIO REVISED CODE STATES:
During any fiscal year, a board of county commissioners, by resolution, may adopt a spending plan or an amended spending plan setting forth separately a quarterly schedule of expenses and expenditures of appropriations from any county fund, except as provided in division (C) of this section, for any county office, department, or division that, during the previous fiscal year, spent one hundred ten per cent or more of the total amount appropriated for personal services and payrolls by the board in its annual appropriation measure required by section, AND
WHEREAS, The Meigs County Commissioners have determined that the Meigs County Sheriff has exceeded his 2019 allocation by 71% and exceeded his original request by 17%, AND
WHEREAS, the spending plan or amended spending plan shall remain in effect for not more than two fiscal years. But if the administrative officer of the office, department, or division for which the plan was adopted is an elected official, the spending plan shall not be in effect during a fiscal year in which that elected official is no longer the administrative officer of that office, department, or division, AND
WHEREAS, (3) At least thirty days before adopting a resolution under division (B)(1) or (2) of this section, the board of county commissioners shall provide written notice to each county office, department, or division for which it intends to adopt a spending plan or an amended spending plan.
The notice shall be sent by regular first-class mail or provided by personal service, and shall include a copy of the proposed spending plan or proposed amended spending plan. The county office, department, or division may meet with the board at any regular session of the board to comment on the notice, or to express concerns or ask questions about the proposed spending plan or proposed amended spending plan. The sheriff was notified in a public meeting on January 16, 2020 of the 30-day notice, AND
WHEREAS, The Meigs County Commissioners have discovered many line items that exceeded the appropriation, further the commissioners were made aware of MOUs that have created excess spending that have been deemed unlawful by legal opinion,
BE IT RESOLVED, The Meigs County Commissioners shall institute the County Spending Plan on the budget of the Meigs County Sheriff’s office on the 20th day of February 2020.
In a conversation with The Daily Sentinel following the meeting, Smith explained that the spending plan will not go into effect until the beginning of the second quarter, which is April 1, as there were some carryover bills from 2019 which were paid in the first quarter. Smith said it would not be appropriate to count those toward the 2020 allocation.
As for how exactly the spending plan will work, Smith said they will be meeting with Sheriff Keith Wood and his office in the near future to discuss the plan, but that it is likely they will take the annual appropriation and divide it equally among the four quarters of the year for the quarterly budget. Sheriff Wood was attending a state sheriff’s training on Thursday and was not at the meeting.
Major Scott Trussell, who was present at the meeting on be half of the sheriff’s office, made note that they will be receiving an “extensive” inmate medical bill in the near future as they have had an inmate recently hospitalized for multiple days.
Meigs County resident Kim King addressed the commissioners regarding the sheriff’s office budget and concerns over pay for deputies versus pay for administrative staff, as well as the hiring of an additional administrative staff member.
Commissioner Jimmy Will explained that while he (or other commissioners) may not agree with how the sheriff’s office is handled regarding staffing, it is the sheriff’s department to handle as he sees fit. Will added that it is the job of the commissioners to look out for the best interest of the county and the budget which is what they can do with the spending plan. He suggested that King meet with the sheriff regarding her specific questions for additional information and clarification.
Commissioner Tim Ihle added that the commissioner are not to be the overseers of a department, but are to let the elected officials run their respective offices. The commissioners can simply provide their opinion on matters as the opportunity arises.
The one option spelled out for the commissioners by law is the quarterly spending plan which the board acted on Thursday.
Commissioner Ihle stated that there have been weekly meetings taking place at the sheriff’s office on the budget and that it is something the commissioners want to work on with the sheriff’s office for a solution and a better outcome.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.