Mahoning County hires budget chief

By Peter H. Milliken


Mahoning County commissioners hired Barbara J. Sours as director of their office of management and budget, effective immediately.

Sours, hired Tuesday from among 20 applicants at a $61,500 annual salary, has a master’s degree in business administration from George Mason University and a bachelor’s degree in finance from West Virginia University.

A resident of Beaver Falls, Pa., Sours replaces George J. Tablack as budget director, but she will not assume his duties as county administrator.

This year, the county’s general-fund budget is about $55.4 million. The general fund is the county’s main operating fund.

The county administrator position is being left vacant, said John A. McNally IV, chairman of the county commissioners.

Tablack earned $103,809 annually when the commissioners didn’t renew his contact May 15, and he received $23,043 in compensation for unused vacation time a month after his departure.

McNally said Sours was his choice because of her “extensive background in county financial affairs.”

Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti said she’ll ask Sours and the county department heads to make three-year budget projections for each department.

“At this time, we shouldn’t be hiring any more people” due to budget constraints and uncertainties, said Commissioner Anthony T. Traficanti, who voted against the hiring. “I just think we should put the grips on the purse strings at this time.”

In other action, the commissioners voted to close Western Reserve Road for reconstruction between Tippecanoe and Raccoon roads from now through Sept. 26, but Western Reserve Road residents will have access to their homes during this period.

“We’ll be removing some of the hills and raising some of the dips,” in addition to widening the road, said Richard A. Marsico, county engineer.

The commissioners also authorized spending $3,070,385 for a new high-efficiency boiler system to heat Oakhill Renaissance Place. That project is being funded by a $2,608,385 federal stimulus grant, with the county borrowing the additional money, McNally said.

J. Robert Lyden, county sanitary engineer, announced that ground will be broken at 9:30 a.m. today at U.S. Route 224 and Struthers Road for the South Struthers Interceptor Sewer installation project. U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, is scheduled to attend that ceremony.

The new $2,051,000 sanitary sewer, funded largely by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will carry wastewater from Poland to the Struthers sewage-treatment plant.

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