Lawrence County outlines financial gains
IRONTON -- Even through the Lawrence County sheriff's office budget and the county Emergency Medical Services ambulance budget are seeking more money this year, County Commissioner Les Boggs said Thursday the county's in better financial shape this year than it has been in more than a dozen years.
However, he predicted tough financial times ahead in 2015 and 2016.
Sheriff Jeff Lawless has asked for an additional $125,000 for bulletproof vests, ammunition and uniform allowances. Meanwhile, revenues of the ambulance service, which usually generates $1 million or more, are down this year and the system needs about $200,000, Boggs said.
The county only budgeted $780,000 for the ambulance service this year, he said. Collections are down and the number of ambulance runs are down this year, creating a shortfall, "It'll be okay," Boggs said. "We're also dealing with Medicaid cuts."
While the county's sales tax revenues were down about $15,600 last month, sales tax revenues overall were up about $290,000 this year over last year, he said. The county's share of revenues from the state's four casinos also are up about $44,200 over the same time last year, he said.
County real estate revenues had another record year, said County Treasurer Steve Burcham. The county collected more $250,000 more in property taxes last year than was budgeted and while the numbers aren't in yet, revenues could be up $250,000 to $280,000 over the amount certified, he said.
The county also could receive additional revenues this fall when $2.5 million in tax liens go up for sale, Burcham said.
Boggs asked the county budget commission to certify more money during a meeting earlier this week, but no additional money was forthcoming even though some revenues were up. "They have another meeting in September," he said. "If they do it in September, it'll be fine."
Tougher times are ahead in the next two years, Boggs said. Additional revenues are needed next year to cover increasing jail costs. Officials said it could cost $1.5 million more to cover jail costs next year. The county also will have to deal with 27 pay periods in 2016, which will require more than $400,000 to deal with.
In other action, Commissioner Bill Pratt said the Chesapeake school board will allow the Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization to use a modular building beside the Chesapeake Community Center as a feeding site for local seniors.
"Hopefully, this will come together pretty quickly," Pratt said. "It's really needed. Meals for senior is an area that's been underserved."
It will cost an estimated $5,000 to get the trailer ready to serve as a site, and officials hope to get the costs donated, he said. The money is needed for a partition, a steam table and a refrigerator, he said.
The food will be prepared at the former senior center in Sybene and brought to Chesapeake, Pratt said.
The Herald-Dispatch welcomes your comments on this article, but please be civil. Avoid profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, accusations of criminal activity, name-calling or insults to the other posters. Herald-dispatch.com does not control or monitor comments as they are posted, but if you find a comment offensive or uncivil, hover your mouse over the comment and click the X that appears in the upper right of the comment. If you do not want your comment to post to your personal Facebook page, uncheck the box below the comment.