New commissioner wants budget work done sooner

Commissioner Tsagaris thinks it might be better to wait to plan the budget.
WARREN -- Newly elected Trumbull County Commissioner Paul Heltzel is calling on commissioners to start work on a 2005 budget before the end of the year.
Officials project a $5 million to $7 million reduction in county revenue next year, resulting from the expiration of a 0.5 percent piggyback sales tax.
The later the 2005 budget is adopted, the deeper cuts will need to be made to cover the projected shortfall, Heltzel said.
No hearings scheduled
Commissioners have not yet scheduled any budget hearings. They have discussed working on the budget before the end of the year, but no decisions have been made, Commissioner James Tsagaris said.
He said Commissioner Joseph Angelo Jr., who leaves office at the end of the year, didn't want to work on next year's budget in December. Angelo and Commissioner Daniel Polivka did not return phone calls.
"I think it would be better if we looked at that [the budget] in January," Tsagaris said.
Auditor's urging
County Auditor David Hines also has urged commissioners to make 2005 budget decisions sooner, rather than later, including whether to impose a new piggyback sales tax.
He has suggested the commissioners could begin hearings for a new sales tax before the end of the year to reduce the wait before collections on a new tax would begin.
It can take about six months to receive any money on a new sales tax, so a sales tax would have to be imposed early in 2005 to have much effect on that year's budget.
Some department heads and elected officials are also eager for the budget process to begin so they can prepare for next year, said Recorder Diana Marchese.
"We want to know what is going on," she said.

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