December 22, 2014

Medina
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New budget gives raises to Medina County workers

MEDINA — Medina County commissioners Tuesday approved a 2013 budget calling for spending $34.5 million, about 2 percent more than last year.

Commissioners said much of the increase will go for pay hikes for county employees, who haven’t seen raises in five years.

Steve Hambley

Commissioners authorized department heads and other elected officials to grant pay increases up to 2.5 percent.

“It’s nice to give 2.5 percent to those who haven’t had a raise in four or five years,” Commissioner Adam Friedrick said.

County Administrator Chris Jakab said the budget is balanced, with projected revenues of $34.9 million — $400,000 more than expenditures.

Jakab said county employees haven’t received raises for the past five years mainly because of budget constraints and a sluggish economy.

One county agency slated to get additional funding this year is the Child Welfare Department. Some of the new money will be used to hire a full-time worker for the adult protective services office.

However, commissioners turned down a budget request from the county sheriff for a half-dozen new corrections officers to open a pod at the jail. The pod has been closed for three years because of budget cutbacks but temporarily was opened in August 2012 to handle overcrowding.

A pod, also known as a dayroom or common area, is a place where prisoners go when they’re not in a jail cell.

Commissioner Steve Hambley said commissioners plan to meet with Sheriff Tom Miller later this year to discuss reopening the pod permanently.

“We’re going to study the issue,” Hambley said Tuesday.

Elections board relocation

Commissioners also declined to include in the budget money to pay for larger quarters for the county Board of Elections.

In December, commissioners rejected a plan submitted by the Board of Elections to move from its quarters in the county Health Department building, 4210 N. Jefferson St., to 3800 Stonegate Drive. Both buildings are in Medina Township.

Last month, the elections board revised the proposal to reduce the amount of leased space at Stonegate from 13,795 square feet to 10,263 to save money. But the board hasn’t yet brought the new proposal to commissioners.

Commissioner Pat Geissman said an agreement with the elections board on a new facility is possible this year.

“We can still re-appropriate some money if they come to us with a proposal we can all agree on,” she said.

Carol Lawler, director of the Board of Elections office, said the elections board met Tuesday and briefly discussed the issue.

“Nothing has changed as far as Stonegate or staying put,” she said.

Contact reporter Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.