$40.9 million budget is OK'd
The auditor says adjustments can be made if tax revenues fall off.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Trumbull County commissioners have finally approved by a 2-1 vote the county's 2006 general fund budget of $40.9 million.
Commissioner Daniel E. Polivka voted against passage Wednesday, saying the appropriation should be reduced by $1 million because of a possible downturn in the local economy.
There is money to be saved in the budget, Polivka said. He called on elected officials and department heads to look at ways to save money rather than spending the full amount appropriated.
County Auditor Adrian Biviano said after the commissioners' meeting that the budget coincides with anticipated revenue from the county's three sales taxes.
If it appears the revenue will decrease during the year, Biviano explained, commissioners can adjust the appropriation to reflect the shortfall.
In voting for the budget, Commissioner James G. Tsagaris pointed out that there are fewer county employees than in 2005, an indication that officeholders have an eye on expenses.
Commissioners held budget hearings but delayed voting on the appropriation for two months while Polivka attempted to trim the plan.
Polivka met last week with representatives of the sheriff's department and county 911 center in an attempt to slice the budget.
Being critical of Polivka, Commissioner Paul Heltzel listed seven things not to do in developing a budget. These included:
Attending budget hearings and then acting like you are not part of the budget process.
Attempting to cut $1 million from a budget because "it sounds like a better number."
Browbeating department heads at the last minute.
Pledging to increase patrols by the sheriff's department and then attempting to cut funding for the patrols.
Polivka countered that he expects be a commissioner in the long term while Tsagaris is retiring at year's end and Heltzel has said he'll serve only one term.
In other business, commissioners tabled a request by Gary Newbrough, county sanitary engineer, to spend $146,907 for 10 vehicles through the state purchasing program.
Commissioners were troubled that they hadn't seen the request until Tuesday and none of the vehicles were being bought from dealerships in the county.
They called on Newbrough to get prices from local dealerships. The deadline to buy equipment through the state was Wednesday.
Newbrough explained that his department has 32 vehicles and no replacements have been bought for three years.
They have high mileage, Newbrough explained, and maintenance costs have increased. He also reimburses employees who use their private vehicles because county-owned vehicles are not available.
Commissioners did, however, allow Newbrough to buy a sewer cleaner, trailer-mounted generator and two trucks at a cost of $209,469. The equipment is being bought with funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Commissioners proclaimed this week Trumbull County 4-H Week. Four 4-H members described the benefits they have received through the organization. Sean Offerdahl of Hubbard, Nathan Jackson of Southington, Chandra Kelley of Champion and Jenna DePizzo of Cortland told of the leadership skills and experiences they would not have gained if not for 4-H.