The Clark County Clerk of Common Pleas Courts office will send $1 million to the county to be used to cover a portion of costs for a new 911 emergency dispatch center.
Melissa Tuttle, Clark County clerk of courts, said the funding is the result of various savings from her two years in office, along with revenue that accumulated at the county’s title office. The funding will come in two separate payments, including $600,000 from 2018 to the county’s general fund budget. An additional $400,000 payment is expected by the middle of this year, Tuttle said.
“I did want to give to a great cause with the surplus,” Tuttle said. “And many people have worked on the 911 dispatch for years and I hope this $1 million will help complete the project so that the community can be better served and protected.”
The commissioners approved nearly $8 million in funding last year for projects to build a new 911 communications center, as well as to renovate the interior of the historic A.B. Graham Building downtown. The county will build the 911 center on county-owned property along Home Road close to the Clark County Combined Health District, Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said.
The new dispatch center is expected to begin construction in 2019 and be completed by the end of 2010.
Lohnes said the clerk’s title office generates more revenue through user fees than it needs for operating expenses in some years. The amount generated is often determined by how well the economy is faring, he said.
In addition, Tuttle said she has made changes wherever possible to make her office more efficient and cost-effective. And the title office has also tried to boost revenue by encouraging more residents to apply for passports through that office.
“She’s to be commended for offering that up,” Lohnes said about Tuttle’s contribution
The current balance of the Certificate of Title Administration Fund is about $1.9 million, according to information from the county. The Clerk’s Office has saved about $635,000 since Tuttle took office in January of 2017 by eliminating some expenses, according to information from the county.
Tuttle said it’s not necessarily unusual for the clerk’s office to return some funding to the county from surplus revenue. Former Clerk Ron Vincent has provided funding in the past for expenditures like new patrol vehicles for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, she said.
“I’m hoping actually to end up returning more but for now I feel safe committing the $1 million total between the two payments,” she said.
She cited several efforts to cut spending, including renegotiating the New Carlisle Title Office lease from $1,000 a month to $550 a month. She said she also looks for ways to slash spending on bulk office supplies. She also said she didn’t fill a deputy clerk position with a salary of about $50,000 per year.
Tuttle said she plans to use some remaining funds to boost pay and provide additional training for staff in the clerk’s office. She said she will increasingly promote the title office as a place where residents can apply for passports this year. She said the office doesn’t require appointments for residents applying for a passport.
“We understand that the public has a choice on where they get their title work and passports and I want the public to know that in Clark County we care and want to do what is best for the community, which includes saving the taxpayers money by declaring this excess,” Tuttle said. “It is very rewarding to declare this excess and I am excited to be helping with the costs of the 911 dispatch center.”
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