Budget Negotiations and Planned Improvements for Senior Center

The Monroe County budget was the main topic of discussion during the December 17 County Commissioners meeting. Jeanette Harter presented numbers to the commissioners showing an amount of $5,145,455.52 to be approved. This number came after budget cuts of $235,876. A significant portion of the cuts, $212,177, was from the Sheriff’s Department. Harter did stress, however, that prisoner housing had been raised by $100,000, so the actual cut was really $112,177.

Sheriff Chuck Black was on hand to dispute the cut for several reasons. The first reason was that it would leave the department anywhere between $16,000 and $20,000 short on 911 funding. Sheriff Black also stated that there was approximately $15,000 in bills that still needed to be paid. Harter suggested transferring the needed money for 911 and the bills from prisoner housing into a miscellaneous account and making payments from that.

Sheriff Black also told the commissioners that two deputies would be retiring at the end of the month. Their payout of $20,426 had not been factored into the budget, because their retirement was not official until December 14. The sheriff said the department would also have to hire two new employees to replace them and he stressed that the department would have to pay a decent wage. “We cannot hire someone at $8 or $9 an hour and expect them to do the level of work that these two people do”. 

Commissioners John Pyles and Carl Davis told Sheriff Black to add $20,500 back into the budget to cover the employees’ payout. The commissioners then approved a new budget of $5,165,955.52.

Monroe County Engineer Lonnie Tustin was also present at the meeting to discuss upcoming projects. Tustin   recommended AT&T for the job of burying 200 feet of fiberoptic cable on Rt. 7 and for installing two poles. He also said there were three locations on German Ridge where cable needed to be laid. Tustin said Horizon Services would be laying the cable in these three particular locations. Motion was carried on all proposed projects.

In other business, Mary Jo Westfall presented two proposals from architectural firms for the improvement of the Senior Center’s HVAC system. The first proposal was from DLH Design, LLC,   located in Marietta. The other proposal was submitted by Swiss Valley Associates, based out of Hannibal. No bids on price were available as of yet, because, according to Westfall, the first decision must  be made based on merit. However, Westfall stated that both companies have “competitive scoring”,  with DLH scoring the higher of the two. The commissioners agreed to go with DLH, Inc. LLC based on this information.