The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 31, 2012

Ashtabula County commissioners hear request from coroner’s investigator for vehicle

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — Commissioners in a work session Tuesday told coroner’s investigator Richard Mongell to mothball a vehicle that the department obtained from the sheriff’s department.

Mongell told commissioners that the 2006 Ford with 134,000 miles needs a new steering shaft, rear axle work and other repairs that will cost at least $700. He said the coroner’s office has spent hundreds of dollars on the car since it was transferred from the sheriff’s department to the coroner in January.

Rather than spend more money for repairs, Mongell suggested the board consider appropriating additional funds to the current year budget so a replacement vehicle can be purchased. He inquired at Ashtabula County dealers and found one vehicle, a 2011 Jeep Patriot with 26,000 miles, that would meet the criteria that County Administrator Janet Discher proposed for a used vehicle purchase.

Mongell said the proposed vehicle is a stripped down version, but would suit the needs of the office in terms of space and function. He told commissioners that the coroner’s office has about $4,000 in its budget that could be put toward the vehicle’s purchase price of just more than $17,300. He felt the price is good considering some of the other quotes he received for vehicles with higher mileage.

“I’ve been checking around and used cars are very high priced now,” Mongell said.

Commissioners did not make a decision on the request, but they agreed it was not wise to repair the retired cruiser.

“I don’t think you should put any more money into the car,” Board President Peggy Carlo said.

“Don’t let anybody drive it,” Commissioner Joe Moroski said.

They suggested that Mongell’s assistant use his personal vehicle for coroner’s office business and be reimbursed for the mileage. Commissioners said they will take a look at the county’s finances and decide on the possibility of an additional appropriation this year or take the vehicle purchase into consideration as the 2013 budget is prepared.

Along that line, the board learned that the county’s first certificate of estimated resources for 2013 will come before it next week. The estimate is just more than $20 million, with about $1.5 million of that carryover from 2012. Discher said she is confident the carryover will be larger because most departments do not spend all of their appropriations.

Overall, county revenues are projected to remain flat. While state casino revenues will provide a new revenue stream, Discher said there are other revenue areas that are expected to decrease.

Commissioners will soon begin meeting with department heads and elected officials to review their budget requests for 2013. The board on Tuesday set Nov. 28 as the date for those budgets held in a public hearing. The entities and times are:

• Veterans service commission, 10 a.m.;

• Common pleas court, noon;

• Juvenile and probate court, 1 p.m.

All hearings will be held in the commissioners meeting room in the Old Courthouse.