Sheriff’s budget discussions continue

By Sarah Hawley -

POMEROY — Several months after the Meigs County Commissioners approved a resolution to place the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office on a quarterly spending plan, commissioners discussed updated spending during Thursday’s meeting.

Commissioner Randy Smith, reading from a report which showed the expenditures, allocations and remaining balances as of the April 2020 month end, explained that the sheriff’s office continues to be over spending where it should be by this point in the year.

The commissioners unanimously approved a resolution in February to put the sheriff’s office budget on a quarterly spending plan, stating that the office had exceeded heir allocation in 2019 by more than 10 percent.

An appropriation report printed on May 1, showing finances through April 30, 2020 shows that the sheriff’s office line items have spent $550,134.94 of the $1,376,531.50 originally appropriated for the line items. The report shows an adjusted overall appropriation of $1,428,315.93 with additional revenue having been added to the appropriation amounts in salaries and supplies. In addition to the money already spent, $76,506.05 has been encumbered, but not yet paid out for 2020.

The end of April marks one-third of the way through the year, meaning in an ideal world, said Smith, one-third of the budget would be spent.

Smith noted in the weekly commissioner meeting that a way to see where the percentage spent should be is to look at the elected official’s salary line which is set by the state. That line item is paid out in equal amounts over the course of the year. At the end of April, 34.62 percent of that line had been paid out.

The expenditures as of April 30, including money paid out and encumbrances, have totaled 43.87 percent of the overall budget. The total paid out as of April 30 is approximately 38.5 percent of the appropriation ($550,134.04 of $1,428,315.93).

As of April 30, 42.58 percent of the employee salary line item has been used, with $362,561.56 having been paid out in salaries of the $851,430.90 appropriated.

Inmate housing, which has traditionally been a big ticket item, has spent $86,462 of the $252,000 which was appropriated (39.68 percent). Oil and gas expenditures have been $19,759.62, with an additional $10,240.38 encumbered for a total of $30,000. The $19,759.62 is approximately 33 percent of the appropriated amount. The encumbered amount could include amounts already included in a purchase order, but not yet spent/paid out.

The commissioners unanimously approved sending a letter to Sheriff Keith Wood asking for an update on the weekly budget meetings he was to be having with administrative staff. Prior to COVID-19 Sheriff Wood and his administrative team had been meeting on Wednesday’s at 10 a.m. On occasion, one commissioner would attend the meeting, but with social distancing they have not been meeting with the sheriff’s office.

That letter, said Smith, was sent by email to Sheriff Wood following the meeting.

The commissioners stated that they are not sure what the next step is, but given the uncertainty of revenue due to COVID-19 it is particularly important to keep a handle on the budget.

The exact impact of COVID-19 on revenue, particularly sales tax, may not bee known for months.

Editor’s note: The appropriation report numbers as provided by the Meigs County Commissioners.

© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

By Sarah Hawley

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.