Columbiana officials look at tight finances for 2011

By D.A. Wilkinson


Columbiana County’s prosecutor is seeking more money next year to possibly hire another clerk for the municipal courts and make up for a lack of manpower to investigate cases.

Prosecutor Robert Herron on Wednesday gave the county commissioners his budget request for 2011 at $1.9 million. He received $1.4 million in 2009, and a similar amount for this year.

Herron told the commissioners his office is seeing, “a considerable drop in our caseload” mainly because police departments and task forces are short of officers to investigate cases.

Officers who had been taken off regular duties to work with various task forces, including the county’s drug task force, are going back to their regular departments.

“Drugs and violence continues,” Herron said. “But we don’t have the [law enforcement] personnel to work the cases.”

The prosecutor also asked for funding for a clerk in the county municipal courts.

Herron said prosecutors in the county courts have been trying to comply with new state court rules affecting the sharing of evidence in criminal cases with defense lawyers.

He said that a new worker was needed at the municipal court to comply with the rules. Prosecutors have been both trying cases and collecting information for the defense.

Commissioner Penny Traina, the president of the commissioners, noted, however, that the general fund for 2011 is expected to be about $17,059,000, or about $800,000 less than this year, so money will be tight for all officeholders.

The commissioners have said they plan to have the county’s budget prepared by the end of November.

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