July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

County looks to tighten budget

Allison Wood | The Gazette

MEDINA — County commissioners are looking for ways to cut as much as $1 million to balance the budget for the rest of the year.

Income is down 7.5 percent from this time last year, which was caused by declining sales tax revenues and a lower return on investment income, county Finance Director Scott Miller said.

Commissioners met Monday to discuss ways they could cut costs.

“We’re going to have to work on it very quickly,” Commissioner Stephen Hambley said Tuesday, because the deficit is growing daily.

Commissioners will meet with all county officials on Monday morning to discuss how each department can cut costs.

“Many elected officials have control over other funds,” Hambley said. “We have to look for some ideas.”

Some ideas, such as making nonunion employees take mandatory furloughs, were discussed Monday, but Hambley said he is not in favor of it because unionized employees like sheriff’s deputies cannot be placed on furlough due to existing contracts.

Another idea discussed was eliminating county cell phones for employee use, but Hambley said these phones are being used for legitimate county business at job sites.

Earlier this year, commissioners passed a $36.3 million budget, which was $4 million less than in 2008. As part of the budget cuts, the Medina County Sheriff’s Office laid off 21 employees, including corrections officers at the Medina County Jail and part-time sheriff’s deputies who helped with security at the Medina County Courthouse. Six other county employees in various offices also were laid off.

A proposed $13 million expansion and renovation of the Medina County Courthouse also was delayed earlier this year in light of budget concerns.

Contact Allison Wood at (330) 721-4050 or allisonwood@ohio.net.