GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County recently made agreements with the Gallia, Jackson, Meigs and Vinton Solid Waste Management District as well as signed an agreement to maintain funding of defense for indigent defendants in Gallia, among other issues.
The Gallia Sheriff’s Office for the 2019 year will provide a sheriff’s deputy as a certified peace officer to investigate illegal dumping complaints filed with the office. The designated deputy will work a minimum of 16 a week performing enforcement activity related to illegal dumping from January 1, 2019 until the end of the year. Monthly activity reported will be furnished as well as field reports and case data. The sheriff’s office will receive four payments of $20,000, one in February, another in April, then July and finally October, for the contract.
Gallia Commissioners also recently signed an agreement with the Gallia County Defense Attorneys Corp. for the 2019 fiscal year to pay $315,000 to the organization for defense of the indigent services. Commissioners have privately contracted with defense counselors for defendants who could not meet the financial obligation of paying for a defense attorney. As per rights granted by the U.S. Constitution, defendants are entitled to defense counsel, regardless of their ability to pay for it. Costs remain similar to previous yearly agreements.
The November 2018 financial report presented in December for the commissioners stated that in of January 2017, the county started with a beginning balance of $1,469,989.52. In January 2018, the county had a beginning balance of $2,386,549.22. The end of November 2017, the ending cash balance was $2,741,627.63. The end of November 2018, the ending balance was $2,112,106.90. County officials in the past have stated that the first three to four months of the new year, the county has not yet gotten real estate tax. Those are not due until March, so the money does not come into the county coffers until April. County officials say they do what is possible to ensure there is money to continue operating for that time period with the year end funds.
The county lost around $600,000 in annual funding alone by no longer being able to access MCO sales tax funding due to state decisions. The whole of the Gallia general fund last year was estimated around $8.6 million. Commissioners have addressed concerns with growing criminal justice costs and that expenditures might cause serious concerns in the 2020 year if the state or other funding solutions aren’t met to alleviate budgeting pressure. Commissioners have previously said they felt confident about the county’s funding throughout 2019.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.