MOUNT VERNON — As some parts of the economy show flickers of rallying from a major slump, other parts remain in crisis. One crisis is the budget recently proposed by Gov. Ted Strickland for the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011.
Roger Shooter, director of Knox County Department of Job & Family Services, presented figures to the Knox County Commissioners on Monday detailing the impact Strickland’s budget would have on the state agency, which did not receive any federal economic stimulus package money. The department is experiencing the brunt of high unemployment and increasing numbers of applicants and users.
Income Maintenance Control, which had a budget of $151 million in 2007, is being projected at $107 million for FY2010 and $101 million in FY2011. Shooter said the net result of this proposal would be a loss of $100 million annually, including a 50 percent federal match to counties to provide access to services for Ohioans most negatively impacted by the recession.
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program will also see a large bite taken out of its budget, which is proposed to drop from $326 million to $295 million in the next two budget years. FY 2010 begins in July.
In past budgets, Shooter said, ODJFS has had the option open of transferring up to 10 percent of the TANF budget elsewhere in the budget. This is known as the TANF Title XX Transfer. The last three budget years have seen transfers of this nature in the amount of $62,000. Budget Year 2010 and BY2011 cut out the practice entirely. These transferred funds were previously used for adult protection, child welfare workers and case aides. Shooter said the loss of these funds would have a devastating impact.
The total figures in Strickland’s budget amount to a loss of $193 million to the ODJFS system.
“We’re not opposed to taking our share of cuts, like everyone else,” Shooter said, “but this is just a catastrophe.”
Shooter said the Knox DJFS has asked for an additional $40,000 in funding to help provide services for the recent rash of dislocated workers in the county, including the 57 people laid off from International Paper. Shooter said two sessions to help those workers file paperwork have been scheduled for Wednesday, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
In other business, Ron Simpson and Jason Figgins from Water and Wastewater stopped by to get the commissioners’ approval to go to the request for proposal stage of the updating of the processing and outflow handling of the wastewater treatment plant near Howard. The plant discharges treated water into the Little Jelloway Creek. The new outflow is a little farther downstream, past the confluence of Little Jelloway Creek with the main Jelloway Creek. This lightens the waste load allocation of the current outflow site.
Property easements from a local landowner and from the Knox County Parks District will be needed for the installation of the new outflow line, as well as a permit to install, all of which are part of the planned process.
To be proactive to EPA concerns, the update to the Howard plant will also include changing its water purification method from chemical chlorination to treatment with ultraviolet light, and aeration provided by solar power.
The commissioners agreed to move on to the next phase in the process.
Also on their agenda was a follow-up call to Washington, D. C., to demonstrate the county’s urgent need for a 594 grant to help the hamlet wastewater project.