County Residents Have Tin Cups Out
JACKSON, Ohio (AP) _ While one resident seeks families willing to sign a bank loan to keep Jackson County’s government running another month, others are on the phone trying to get donors to prevent county offices from closing Friday.
The rural southern Ohio county faces a budget deficit of more than $200,000 and could have to lay off 40 employees by Friday, county officials have said.
Donna Crist Cook, wife of Coroner John M. Cook, said Tuesday she is asking four other families to share in taking out a $25,000 bank loan that would provide county operating money for another month. She also set up a stand Friday and Monday to collect donations, and said she took in $1,174.
″I said I was going to stand on a street corner with a tin cup to see that the county operates,″ she said.
Other county residents were trying to raise as much as $100,000 by phone, she said.
Sheriff Edgar Hayburn, who said half his 16 employees will be laid off this weekend, vowed to move into the jail with his wife, if he has to.
″The sheriff will still be here, come hell or high water .... I’m not Superman, but I’ll be here,″ Hayburn said.
He said dispatchers are a priority because the sheriff’s department handles calls for rural fire departments as well as for police. But he said further layoffs are likely.
The Jackson County Jail closed last Friday, and the sheriff said suspects arrested for misdemeanors have been taken home.
County Commissioners have voted seven times this year on an emergency 1 percent sales tax, but Commissioner Marvin W. Keller repeatedly voted against it. An emergency measure requires a unanimous vote by the three commissioners.
County voters will be asked Nov. 5 to pass a 1 percent sales tax, if there is enough money to hold an election.
Commissioners have asked the state Controlling Board to approve a $262,500 loan at its meeting Monday.
Other county officials are asking the Ohio Supreme Court for help. An attorney for four Jackson County office holders said he would ask the court today to order commissioners to approve the sales tax or fund county government another way.
The Supreme Court also has a request from three county judges for an order to fund offices related to court operations, but has delayed acting on it.