Board's letter stresses need for details

Individual department reviews will be conducted.
WARREN -- Trumbull County commissioners are asking officeholders to do some more homework before final stamps of approval are given to each department's 2005 budget.
The board, in a letter to all elected officials and department heads, said each department's budget will get an individual review the week of Jan. 30. Copies of proposed budgets were being assembled Wednesday, county Administrator Anthony Carson said.
"Your ability to provide appropriate services throughout Trumbull County may well be impaired," the commissioners' letter warns officeholders.
Although the commissioners and officeholders held budget hearings late last year, the commissioners now are asking for:
UComparable data for Trumbull departments and those of other counties, including payroll and number of employees.
UThe impact the 2005 budget will have upon the department and the general public.
UA demonstration of ways the department could generate additional revenue for the county.
These will be public hearings at the county administration building.
Certification of funds
The commissioners await a certification of funds for 2005 from the county budget commission -- auditor, treasurer and prosecutor -- previously pegged at $30.5 million to $32 million, about $6 million to $7 million less than what was spent in 2004. This commission usually meets the first Monday in February.
Some county officials, including Commissioner Paul Heltzel, already have said layoffs will happen and the public will be inconvenienced because of the budget shortfall.
The commissioners make note in their letter that some functions are mandated by state law, and because of this portions of certain departmental budgets have not been reduced. This requirement, however, "puts a disproportionate reduction on many budget requests," the letter states.
"What we need is your response to and explanation of what this proposed budget will do to the ability of your department to provide services at a reasonable service level," the letter states.
Heltzel said the board seeks "concrete examples."
The commissioners also want to know which budget items "cannot be cut" because of contractual commitments or other reasons.

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