Money must be found in the budget to ensure that property tax bills get mailed, a commissioner says.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LISBON -- Last week, Columbiana County Treasurer Linda Bolon asked commissioners for $38,000 in her department's budget to meet salaries and to fund tax-bill mailings.
Bolon said Monday she's still waiting.
She may have to wait a while longer.
Commissioner Dave Cranmer said he thinks commissioners must find a way to fulfill Bolon's request, but the matter is in the hands of Commission President Jim Hoppel, who has been overseeing the county budget.
Hoppel was unavailable Monday.
Bolon said Hoppel has told her he'll see what he can do, but he also noted the county is beset with severe financial problems that have resulted in most county departments' being given less than requested.
The treasurer's office was appropriated $153,263 for 2002. Last year, it spent $198,633.
Cuts already made
Bolon said she understands the county's financial fix, but she has already made cuts in staff and office expenses.
"I'm at the bare minimum now," Bolon said.
She told commissioners last week her department needs about $24,300 more to pay employees and $14,000 to pay postage to mail property tax bills that must go out in July.
Without the postage funds, the county may be forced to require taxpayers to report to the courthouse to find out how much they owe and make payment in person, Bolon has said.
Not getting a tax bill doesn't relieve property owners of the responsibility of paying their taxes, Bolon has said.
The tax bills must be mailed, said Cranmer, who thinks the county can find a way to fund the treasurer's office.
He didn't want to elaborate on how, saying the recommendation should come from Hoppel as board president.
Officials say the county's financial picture could improve if a 0.5-percent sales tax increase proposal on the May 7 primary election ballot wins approval.
The increase would bring in about $3 million annually.
The sales tax stands at 1 percent and produces about $6 million annually.