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Commissioners get budgets for public defense

The Ohio Public Defender’s Office submitted two budgets Thursday morning to the Washington County Commissioners.

John Cornely, trial services director, said the two budgets for indigent defense were submitted because his office wasn’t sure yet what the reimbursement rate would be.

“We anticipate a 90 percent reimbursement rate,” he said via teleconference. “If we get a 20 percent cut as the rest of the state budget looks like, it will be a 70 percent rate.”

The fiscal year 2021 budget shows a total of $906,604, with $634,286 in salaries and benefits for Washington County public defenders. The budget had an increase of 0.4 percent over last year.

“Washington County saw a pretty large increase in felony cases in the last four years,” Cornely said. “This year, we were able to stay where we are. We had a $27,384 carryover from last year that was carried over to this year.”

The carryover was due to emergency cost control measures implemented by the Ohio Public Defender’s Office due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commission President Ron Feathers said the report was good news.

“Historically, this is deeper than just looking at a number today,” he said. “(Commissioner) David (White) and I remember when the county’s portion was $500,000. Even at your worst projection, we’d pay half what we used to pay.”

In other commission news:

• The commissioners received a letter from the Ohio EPA that the review of Washington County’s application for a Water Pollution Control Loan Fund planning loan is complete. The loan bears an interest rate of 0 percent for five years and is conditional on the county meeting all WPCLF programs and actions by the Ohio Water Development Authority Board.

The loan will be used for the pre-construction phase of the Devola Sewering Project.

• The bid opening is set for 10 a.m. May 19 for an upgrade to Mary Avenue as part of the Warren Local Partnership Project. The engineer’s estimate is $124,563.

Per the agreement for contribution of funds, Warren Local Schools will provide $114,693 for the project. The rest will be funded by local money with county highway department personnel performing sub-grade improvements along with drainage improvements at existing driveways.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

At a glance:

•Ohio Public Defender’s Office submitted two budgets to the Washington County Commission.

• The first budget anticipates 90 percent reimbursement for indigent defense.

•The second budget anticipates a 20 percent reduction in the reimbursement budget.

•Application for a Water Pollution Control Loan Fund planning loan is complete for the Devola Sewering Project.

•The $500,000 loan is 0 percent interest for five years and will be used for pre-production of the project.

Source: Washington County Board of Commissioners.

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