Recorder seeks more, but ends up with less

WARREN – Columbiana County Recorder Theresa Bosel used a provision in Ohio’s 2014-15 budget legislation to ask for use of more money from recording fees. That ultimately meant, though, the office was given less money by county commissioners there.

It’s a scenario recorders in Trumbull and Mahoning counties wanted to avoid, which is one of the reasons why they’re not asking for any more money even though they are entitled to it.

Ohio law allows the $28 fee recorders charge to be evenly split between the Ohio Housing Trust Fund, part of the Ohio Development Services Agency and the county.

The $14 that stays local is divided between the county’s general fund budget, which funds most county operations, and the recorder’s office equipment fund, which is used to make technology upgrades and buy new equipment, like computers, and pay for tech-related salaries.

The amounts vary among counties. Each county recorder can ask for $3 to $8 of the $14 and the balance goes to the county general fund. Recorders must ask county commissioners for the increase and commissioners are obligated to OK it.

In Columbiana County, the split is $7 for the recorder’s office and $7 for the general fund, and in Trumbull, it’s $3 and $11.

Bosel sought the increased fees, which Columbiana County commissioners approved in December and then decreased Bosel’s budget to account for the loss to the general fund. Previously, the amounts were $4 for her office and $10 for the county.

Bosel said because the general fund amount she was given is not enough to pay for her four employees – the same number the office had in 1939 – she’ll dip into the equipment fund to help pay for employee salary.

”Apparently, commissioners have faith in me that I can wield this budget and be able to run the office on a smaller budget,” Bosel said. ”I hope I don’t let them down, I don’t want to let them down.”

Trumbull County Recorder Diana Marchese said she was opposed to the law change, as were Trumbull County commissioners, who passed a resolution in April expressing their opposition to it.

”I’m staying with what I have,” Marchese said. ”I’m satisfied. It meets the needs of our county. It’s reasonable, not out of line.”

In Mahoning County, $4 of the $14 fee is given to the recorder’s office. The rest, to the county’s general fund, said Recorder Noralynn Palermo. She said she heard of instances similar to what happened in Columbiana in other counties and although ”I didn’t think that would happen,” she didn’t want to chance it.

”My commissioners are very good to me,” Palermo said. ”My budget is not out there at all.”