WAVERLY- According to a letter addressed to Pike County Sheriff Tracy Evans, the office stands risk of running out of salary funds in coming weeks.

In the letter sent on Sept. 30 and obtained by the News Watchman last week, $163,462 remained for the Sheriff’s Office to use by the end of the year.

“As the paymaster of the county, one of the duties of this office is to routinely monitor appropriation levels, available cash, any payroll expenses,” the letter from Auditor Kayla Slusher reads. “We have noted items of concern with the sheriff’s personnel salary lines.”

The remaining funds were expected to run out by Saturday, Oct. 23 with the office averaging $54,000 per pay period.

Instead, the Auditor’s office understands an appropriation of $100,000 has been promised for sheriff salaries. With this addition, the last fully funded pay period would be moved to Saturday, Nov. 6.

As the News Watchman reported last month, the Pike County Commissioners have spoken with Evans on the matter on multiple occasions.

To cover these expenses, the board could use funds in reserve but Commissioner Jerry Miller is not in favorite of that move.

“The challenge is to provide the best possible service within the limitations of the available budget,” he is quoted in a Sept. 17 article. “The job is hard enough, but when you put the constraints of dollars into the equation then you have a challenge.”

Miller said these reserve funds are needed in case of emergency and not for recurring expenses like salaries. The reserve funds proved to be essential following the Rhoden family massacres in 2016.

What Commissioner Tony Montgomery would like to see his more control of what can be controlled with the $3 million or 33% of the county’s budget was devoted to the Sheriff’s Office this year.

Retirement and health insurance are factors that be projected, while increases in gas prices or equipment issues are not.

Miller said the during a July 25 commissioners meeting that reserve funding was crucial in providing $50,000 in 4D pumps for the government building.

“If we budget everything and every overage to the penny, then we can’t do those things.”

Later in that meeting, Evans said he was still working under his predecessor’s budget and was expecting more funds to come to the office through its vehicle auction.

“We have come a long way,” he said, his early tenure which starting this year following his victory in the 2020 election.

To satisfy what is required under the Ohio Revised Code, the commissioners will supply enough funding for the office to hold bare minimum staffing.

Contact Patrick Keck at pkeck@newswatchman.com or by phone at 740-947-2149, ext. 300431 and follow him on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

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