Extension office wants no budget increase from county

The Washington County Commissioners heard from staff and supporters of the county Ohio State University Extension Office at their regular weekly meeting Thursday and said they were happy with the numbers presented.

In attendance were OSU Educators Amanda Bohlen, Marcus McCartney and Bruce Zimmer and subcommittee members Asa Boring, Tom Webster, Shirley Duckworth, Ken Schilling and Marty Clark.

“We are asking for level funding for the 2018 budget request,” said Bohlen, who presented commissioners Ron Feathers and Rick Walters with a budget proposal. Commissioner David White was out of town.

In 2017, the OSU Extension received $260,505 from the county; $175,967.04 from state and federal funding for a summer intern program, paid at $11 an hour; $127,078 in SNAP-Ed program grants; $78,018 from programs fees (4-H, Family and Consumer Sciences and Agriculture and Natural Resources) and donations; and $10,093 from local, state and federal grant funds. They did not ask the commissioners for an increase in funding but to approve a request for the same amount.

“I am very pleased that you’re not asking for an increase in this time when we’re all struggling,” said Feathers. “This proposal is very well done and I appreciate the team effort and the entourage that you’ve brought in to speak on your behalf.”

Bohlen highlighted some ways that the extension office has saved money, including reducing their travel budget and utilizing video conferencing, taking advantage of volunteers and donations, stopping use of a postage meter, reevaluating some programs to determine how useful they are to the county and reducing staffing hours.

Asa Boring, a Belpre Township trustee, spoke about the necessity of the programs offered to the community by the extension office.

“There are more than $10,000 adults and children in the county that benefit from programs, like CARTEENS, 4-H and the farm safety program,” he said.

Commissioners did not make a decision but will include the presentation in their budget discussions for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, Tom Ballengee, director of Washington County Job and Family Services, told the commissioners that an agreement with Gallia County JFS has resulted in $6,761.65 for Children Services.

“Gallia County had some Title 20 transfer money, with the end of the year closeout in September,” Ballengee said. “We share a county supervisor (on the state level) and they knew our Children Services could use the money. So I am asking for a resolution to accept the funds and to approve a MOU (memorandum of understanding).”

Commissioners Feathers and Walters approved the motions.

What’s ahead

¯ Planning Commission meeting: Monday at 7 p.m.

¯ Monthly County Home meeting: Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

¯ Finance Committee meeting: Tuesday at 10 a.m.