LAKE COUNTY – Lake County Job and Family Services Director Matt Battiato expressed his disappointment in the amount of funding provided for children services in Gov. John Kasich’s proposed state budget during the Feb. 2 meeting of the Lake County Board of Commissioners.
“His proposal leaves our funding flat and that would mean that Ohio would remain 50th out of 50 states in terms of their support for children services funding,” he said.
Battiato is setting up meetings with local state legislators to discuss the need for more funding.
Without state support, Lake County is even more dependent on the Children Services Levy the voters pass to help take care of abused and neglected children.
Commissioner Dan Troy said the County Commissioners Association of Ohio supports an increase in funding for children services.
“The problem is, to add more money to that line item it has to be taken from somewhere (else) or there has to be an increase in revenue, or maybe a decrease in reduction of revenue that is being proposed, to address some of these things,” he said.
Battiato said he understood what Troy said, but the state should make protecting children a priority.
He said Lake County Children Services has 84 children in its custody for a cost of $12,000 per day. About two dozen children are 1 year of age or younger, and are mainly in custody because of a parent(s) opiate addiction.
Battiato said the number of children in the county’s care has increased due to the opiate epidemic.
“Once we have custody of children, they are either placed in a foster home or a residential treatment facility and that costs money,” he said.
Placement is based on the child’s needs.
Foster homes get $40 per day with residential treatment centers being paid $300 to $400.
Commissioner John Hamercheck, who is currently on the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) Jobs, Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee said CCAO has been discussing the issue as well.
“I believe we should continue the dialogue with our legislators because the demands are growing and revenues are declining and there is a disconnect,” he said. “Now this is me personally speaking, but from what I gather from the discussion, I don’t think we’re making it as obvious or apparent to the general public, and in some regards, if the public’s not asking, some people are not addressing it.”
Passed Feb. 2:
• Authorizing advertising for bids for limestone / sand for the Lake County Department of Utilities with a bid opening date of Feb. 22.
Estimated costs for the departments are $100,000 for Water; $8,500 for Sewer; and $20,500 for Solid Waste.
• Approving final estimate No. 3 (release of retainer) in the amount of $33,870.82 with Monte Construction Company, Inc. and accepting a three-year maintenance bond in the amount of $69,382 for Victor Drive and Sylvia Drive Water Line Replacement Project 354-W for the Lake
County Department of Utilities.
• In support of the adoption of the Roth 457 option as an expanded portfolio choice within the CCAO deferred compensation program, as was authorized into law by the passage of Senate Bill 220, which became Ohio law on March 19.
• Accepting and approving the recommendation of Commissioner Jerry C. Cirino to designate Sean P. Blake to serve as his alternate on the Lake County Planning Commission.
• Authorizing the Lake County Board of Commissioners to enter into a federal equitable sharing agreement with the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of the Treasury on behalf of the Lake County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to receive federally forfeited property and/or funds.
• Increasing appropriations for various general and non-general fund accounts.
• Matt Armand, director of administration, said LCDU takes customer service seriously. Three years ago they began a serious effort to track customer satisfaction.
“To date, 75 percent of our residents—customers who have been surveyed, rate our overall customer service as excellent, and 21 percent as good, the remaining 4 percent as average or poor,” he said.
Armand said they were proud of their employees.
• The commissioners adjourned to executive session to discuss personnel – employment.
• Meetings are held in the Commissioners' Chambers of the Lake County Administration Building, 105 Main St., Painesville. All meetings are open to the public. Requests to address the government board may be made at any board meeting or presented to the Commissioners' Office by calling (440) 350-2753.
There was a meeting Feb. 9. The next regular meetings will be Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 16 at 10 a.m.