Mahoning commissioners approve savings audit

Published: Sat, February 17, 2018 @ 12:06 a.m.

Staff report


Mahoning County commissioners hired a Columbus company to look for areas where the county can save money.

The commissioners this week approved a $60,000 contract with GeoStar Professionals to analyze the county’s revenue and expenditures.

It’s part of the county’s attempt to prepare for the loss of about $4.5 million in annual revenue from a statewide sales tax on Medicaid managed-care organizations that ended in July 2017.

“We’re looking at all avenues in the county for how to go forward with the loss of MCO funds,” said Audrey Tillis, the commissioners’ executive director.

Ohio stopped collecting the tax after a ruling by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which ordered the state to expand the tax to non-Medicaid MCOs or eliminate it.

The state provided $5.2 million in transition funds to make the county whole through the end of 2018, but the county has received no guarantees of further aid going forward.

Tillis said the county has taken other measures to reduce costs.

The county spent about $870,000 replacing lighting in the county jail and the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center in 2017, which Jim Fortunato, head of the county’s purchasing department, said resulted in $106,000 rebates for energy costs.

It also has realized $500,000 in annual savings through participation in an electric and natural-gas aggregation program, Fortunato said.

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