LAWRENCE COUNTY Transfer of $1M from general fund begins

BESSEMER, Pa. -- Lawrence County commissioners have started the process of transferring $1 million to the Mental Health/Mental Retardation Department from the general fund.
At their weekly public meeting Tuesday, Commissioners Steve Craig and Dan Vogler agreed to make an initial payment of $100,000, noting their intention to have the money paid back to the fund in seven years.
Commissioner Ed Fosnaught voted against it, saying he would prefer paying the debt in full. He said if the county were to need money later this year, the funds could be "reborrowed" and moved from Mental Health/Mental Retardation back to the county's general account.
Transferred funds in 2002
Vogler explained that a previous board of commissioners transferred $4 million from the county's Mental Health/Mental Retardation Department fund to the county's general fund in 2002, with the understanding the money was to be moved back in early 2003. Vogler said a 2004 audit discovered that $1 million of the money had never been returned to Mental Health/Mental Retardation.
The county initially proposed a 10-year repayment schedule, but the state Department of Public Welfare is requiring a seven-year payment plan, Vogler said. Vogler said the county likely will make a $150,000 payment next year, and each year thereafter.
In other business at their meeting Tuesday, commissioners agreed to disburse $10,000 in liquid fuels money to Ellwood City for various road projects.
Tuesday's meeting, an evening session, was conducted at the Bessemer Borough Building. The commissioners are conducting evening sessions the last Tuesday of every month through October at a different municipality throughout the county.

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