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Belmont County’s budget set for 2018

Belmont County commissioners have adopted and approved the 2018 budget.

Belmont County commissioners have adopted and approved the 2018 budget.

This year, the county is seeing cuts across the board. Every department will go undergo a 5 percent reduction, including the commission.

The county’s budget for the year is $22.3 million.

The three commissioners -- J.P. Dutton, Mark Thomas, and Josh Meyer – worked in conjunction with staff, including the county auditor.

A number of issues played a role in this year's financial outlook, including a nationwide trend of declining brick and mortar stores, plus a statewide sales tax issue that left local governments struggling to make ends meet.

Locally, the opioid crisis and subsequent overcrowding at the Belmont County Jail has led to a sizeable spike in budgetary needs at the sheriff's office.

"We are transporting prisoners to Jefferson County, and there's a cost associated with that. And we're trying to meet that cost," Dutton said.

Commissioners say they did their best in keeping public safety a priority.

"The last couple years, the last two budgets, we've sort of slowed, well completely slowed the growth from the few years prior to that,” Dutton said. “So in looking at this flatter budget, we sort of looked at the demands coming in from our county departments and how to address those."

"In our minds, including our office as Commissioner Dutton said, everyone in this county can run more efficiently," Thomas said.

While a 5 percent departmental-wide cut is in effect, commissioners say no loss of service to residents is anticipated.

Meanwhile, the sheriff's office will recoup a portion of those cuts.

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