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COLUMBIANA COUNTY Funds approved for sheriff's department



Published: Thu, August 8, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The decision enables the county to duck a virtual shutdown of the department later this month.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

LISBON -- Columbiana County commissioners are refusing county Sheriff Dave Smith's request for cash to return furloughed deputies.

But commissioners agreed Wednesday to provide enough money to avoid the department's being virtually shut down later this month.

Commissioners authorized panel President Jim Hoppel to transfer about $81,300 from the department's nearly $141,000 fourth-quarter funding allocation for employee salaries.

Without the funding, Smith predicted all department employees except himself would have been laid off Aug. 23.

In the months ahead

The transfer will keep the department running for the next few months at a reduced-staff level, commissioners said.

In the fourth quarter, the department will need an additional $91,700 to get it through the end of the year, providing a reduced staff is maintained.

By that time, commissioners said, additional cash should be available to meet the department's payroll until year's end.

Smith didn't specify how much would be needed to bring back five deputies laid off since May as the result of the county's ongoing financial crisis. The sheriff also wants to fill a deputy position left vacant since 2001.

He said he needs a full deputy staff to ensure the department is fulfilling its law enforcement duties and to ensure deputies' safety.

Commissioners told Smith there isn't enough available now to return the deputy roster to full strength.

Commissioners imposed a 0.5 percent sales tax increase in June that will earn about $3 million in revenue annually.

But collections on the tax won't start until Sept. 1, and the first revenue check won't arrive until December.

Compensation and benefits

In other business at their meeting Wednesday, commissioners agreed to changes in compensation and benefits for 28 nonunion management workers at the county Job and Family Services Department.

Affected employees will get a 2.6 percent pay increase that will cost the department about $20,000 annually.

The increase boosts the department director's salary to $54,000 annually.

The lowest paid employee affected will earn $9.40 per hour after the increase is added.

Other changes prohibit the department's management employees from being paid overtime and require employees to begin contributing to their health insurance premiums.

Workers on the family plan will pay $12 per month. The single plan will cost an employee $7 monthly.

Bereavement leave for an in-law's death was increased from one day to two.




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