EATON — The Preble County Board of Commissioners met with members of the PC Board of Elections (BOE) during a Monday, Dec. 5 regular session meeting. The BOE board questioned recent budget reductions conducted by the commissioners, which saw the BOE’s projected budget of $91,000 for the year of 2023 rest at roughly $80,000 instead — an amount which is several thousand dollars higher than the BOE’s allotted budget for 2022.
“The reason why we’re here has to do with the unexpected additional reductions to our budget,” began chairperson Robert Wood, who “set the table” for the board’s grievances. Wood inquired as to the method used to come to the current budget figures, to which Commissioner Dave Haber explained the current numbers were averages based on the usage and activity of previous budgets dating back to 2020.
“Let’s start with salaries,” said board member Terri Hans, who claimed during the August election of 2022, $18,000 in salaries were paid for by grant money, rather than from the budget. Hans also asserted the board members’ salaries would cause strain to the BOE budget as it stands.
Commissioner Adam Craft, armed with documentation from the Preble County Auditor’s office, argued that the current budget, which was formed around 2023 projected expenses and refined by using previous budget expenditures, would supply the funds for payroll and any responsible expenses the BOE will incur.
According to Hans, she had the same documentation as Craft from the auditor, “Except I have more information than you,” she remarked. Members of the BOE added, with the current economic climate and inflation, it is unfair to budget based on previous years. The commissioners expressed their understanding, but assured the BOE is not the only department undergoing budget reductions.
According to Hans, she and the county auditor believe $20,000 should be added back into the 2023 budget for the BOE, in order for the BOE to fulfill payroll.
Hans also added, part-time and seasonal workers do not claim overtime, while being paid an hourly rate of $17. “They don’t get any overtime,” she said.
Hans included, funds would be required for training new members of the BOE through Election Systems and Software (ESNS) in order to save the department money in future elections.
Commissioners assured the board they can request supplemental appropriations should they be needed at any time down the road.
“Well, I just met with the auditor, and she feels that we need $20,000 put back into the budget to get us through next year. So, I request that that be done, please,” concluded Hans.
Commissioners took no vote on the matter, but decided to draft a letter after further discussion, informing the BOE the budget will stand as is. However, should ESNS fulfill the required training, the commissioners will approve a check for their services, and grant the BOE supplemental appropriations, should the requests be validated.
In other business:
• Commissioners approved the new hire of Tiara Miles as a full-time correctional officer with the Preble County Sheriff’s Office.
Reach Nathan Hoskins at 937-683-4057.