Belmont County Commissioners Approve $ 22.8 Million Budget for 2022 | News, Sports, Jobs

Belmont County enters 2022 on a solid budget and is hoping for an economic recovery.

Commissioners approved the budget on Wednesday at $ 22,800,000. Commissioner Jerry Echemann said the amount was comparable to last year. He congratulated the Commissioners’ staff for their work.

“They spend a lot of time setting it up,” Echemann said. “The monetary figure remained the same as last year. Over time, everything becomes more expensive.

The sheriff’s office remains the biggest expense, with Sheriff David Lucas receiving funds in the order of $ 6 million. Echemann said last year that the sheriff’s office requested $ 6.7 million and received $ 3.4 million, then $ 2.5 million from the CARES Act funding.

“For this year, we are not planning another CARES law,” Echemann said. “He asked for $ 7.1 million, and we’re giving him $ 6.1 million.”

Echemann added that the increases in the sheriff’s budget are due to factors such as rising costs, union contract increases, new equipment and vehicles, and the cost of housing inmates outside the county to avoid prison overcrowding. .

The budgets of many other county offices have been slashed until 2022, including the Commissioners’ Office.

“We’re trying to take the lead and lead by example, and we cut ourselves off normally,” Echemann said, adding that the reduction was around $ 200,000. Echemann said he didn’t think there would be staff cuts for financial reasons.

“It has been another difficult year for a number of reasons,” said Commissioner Josh Meyer. The staff “probably outdid themselves more than they have ever done before. .. The county is in great shape. Another difficult year regarding the COVID situation. “

Commissioner JP Dutton added that there were other expenses such as wage increases from collective agreements. He said increases in medicare costs are beyond the county’s control.

“We are sitting here, with the same numbers as us, and we just went through a pandemic without having to make any major changes to county services,” he said, adding that a strong budget was vital to be able to. take action when a grant or loan opportunity arises.

The commissioners added that they also hoped for an economic recovery.

“We run the county largely on sales tax, so the hope would be that we would introduce more sales tax in 2022 than planned,” Echemann said.

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