COLUMBIANA COUNTY Three called back to work for sheriff

The employees' return will enable the department to catch up on sheriff's sales.
LISBON -- Two deputies and a secretary furloughed from the Columbiana County Sheriff's Department this spring in response to budget cuts have returned to work.
The employees came back to their jobs Monday after Commissioner President Jim Hoppel assured Sheriff Dave Smith that the money needed for the move would be made available.
It will cost about $32,000 to pay for the returning employees' salaries and benefits until year's end.
Hoppel said Wednesday the money will come from the county's general fund.
He noted that the county conservatively projected at the beginning of the year that the 1 percent sales tax would bring in about $5.8 million in 2002.
But, so far, revenue is exceeding expectations, and the county is on pace to earn about $7.2 million from the sales tax by year's end, Hoppel said.
Collections began Sunday on an additional 0.5 percent sales tax imposed this summer by commissioners. But the county won't start receiving revenue checks from the increase until late this year.
Catch-up work
Hoppel and Smith said it's imperative to return the deputies and secretary to help the sheriff's department catch up with sheriff's sales, which are the court-ordered result of bank foreclosures on real estate.
The department has fallen about 100 sales behind since the spring layoffs, and some banks are threatening lawsuits, Hoppel said.
The sheriff's department "just didn't have the people to get it done," Hoppel said, referring to the sales.
"I didn't want lawsuits to start popping up," he added.
Smith said he's still shorthanded as a result of spring layoffs necessitated by the county's budget crisis.
Still furloughed are three deputies, a secretary and a clerk.

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