MAHONING COUNTY New budget director hailed for experience

Commissioners liked that the new staffer is familiar with county finances and policies.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A Poland woman is the new budget director for Mahoning County government.
County commissioners voted today to hire Elizabeth Sublette, to start Monday. She will be paid $62,000 a year, said Gary Kubic, county administrator.
Sublette is a certified public accountant who formerly worked for Cohen & amp; Co., a firm the county auditor's office sometimes hires to audit the county's finances. That connection is largely what made her an ideal candidate, Commissioner Ed Reese said.
"The learning curve is going to be very short with her" because Sublette is already familiar with the county's finances, personnel and policies, Reese said. "She's really going to be a plus for us."
Kubic has done the bulk of the budgeting work since January 1998, when former budget director Thomas Stanko left for another job. Employees from the auditor's office and the office of management and budget have assisted him.
"I'm grateful that the commissioners have made this decision," Kubic said, noting that giving up the budget will allow him to focus on other operations.
Sales tax on ballot
Commissioners have said it's important to have a budget director in place now to help plan next year's finances. A 0.5 percent county sales tax is up for renewal in November. It was on the ballot in May but was narrowly defeated.
If it is voted down again in November, the county will lose some $12 million from its general fund and will have to make cuts. That's why commissioners say it's crucial to have someone with expertise making budget decisions.
Commissioners have scheduled public hearings about the sales tax for June 20 and 27. Both will be at 9:30 a.m. in the commissioners' hearing room, in the basement of the county courthouse.
Ohio law requires commissioners to hold the hearings before placing the measure on the ballot.
Kubic said the hearing dates will allow commissioners to gather public comment and pass a resolution placing the tax on the ballot well in advance of the Aug. 22 deadline for submitting issues to the board of elections.

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