County offices make their budget requests

The Washington County Commissioners are hearing funding requests for 2014 from county agencies and other entities this week and next.

“Because of the two new commissioners, we’re starting a little earlier this year,” said administrator Paul Cunningham. “We’re going to be clear up to December to fine-tune it.”

Department heads have not been given any restrictions at this time, said commission President David White, who, like Commissioner Ron Feathers, was elected in 2012 and is entering his first county budget process.

“We did not beforehand establish any level for them to hold to,” White said.

Commissioner Tim Irvine said departments first submitted budgets in May. The proposals they’re bringing to commissioners now will have more accurate information about where they expect to be in the new year.

The commissioners allow an hour for each department, said commission clerk Rick Peoples. Already they’ve met with departments such as the board of elections, Children Services, juvenile/probate court and the recorder and treasurer’s office. Five more departments and organizations, including Washington County Common Pleas Court and Main Street Marietta, are slated for today. Hearings wrap up on Wednesday.

Cunningham said some departments have made requests for additional funding or personnel, but it will be a while before he has a better idea of the revenue the county will have to work with and how it will compare to this year’s $63 million budget.

During their regular minutes meeting Thursday, commissioners approved a bid of $11,150 from Ken Strahler Masonry to make repairs at the health department office at 342 Muskingum Drive in Marietta. They received two other bids from area businesses that were two and three times the bid approved.

Later in the day, the commissioners approved the low bid out of four for a sidewalk project in Beverly using Community Development Block Grant funds. Peoples said the $15,980 bid from Summerfield-based Mike’s Concrete LLC came in below the original estimate.

The commissioners’ agenda noted they will hold their Nov. 14 meeting at 7 p.m. at Lawrence Elementary School in Dart, rather than their usual 9 a.m. slot in their assembly room in the courthouse annex. The meetings are taken to different locations around the county from time to time to provide residents additional opportunities to attend.