Commissioners discuss SNAP Benefit change and public defenders

By Meladi Brewer

DailyAdvocate.com

GREENVILLE — The Darke County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday to discuss the public defenders commission and SNAP Benefits. Commissioners Matt Aultman, Marshall Combs, Larry Holmes were present.

The commissioners approved a resolution and agreement relating to the Darke County Public Defender Commission for 2023. In the resolution the Board of Darke County Commissioners, referred to as “Commission”, of the Darke County Public Defender Commission Agreement.

“On a yearly basis, whenever a Indigent Defense Contract comes forward we pass a resolution prior to the contract,” Aultman said.

He advised the commissioners passed a resolution for funding for the 2023 year on the first session of the year. It helps with the solidification of a fee structure.

“We have to fund the Public Defender Commission and Indigent Defense Funding to pass along to the state to get reimbursed,” Aultman said.

The agreement between the Darke County Public Defender Commission and Indigent Legal Assistance Fund (ILAF) states a term from Jan. 1, 2023 until Dec. 31 of the same year. It gives the Darke County Municipal Court indigent representation in all criminal cases where there is a right for court appointed counsel.

It was advised Darke County shall pay to and/or through the Commission a total of $490,158.90. $424,380 goes to ILAF for services provided under the contract. $65,778.90 goes back to the Darke County Commissioners and allocates to the the Darke County Common Pleas.

“I was please to see the return of some of the original language that had been in the original agreement that we (the commissioners) had anticipated approving, and I was pleased to see they memorialized their intent to add new members,” Holmes said.

He said it was a good step forward, and he was glad to see the movement. Moving forward in March, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit users will see the federal government’s decision regarding the benefits changing. Users will no longer be receiving the Emergency Allotments they had previously been seeing.

“For individuals who are receiving SNAP Benefits, they will see a change in their monthly allotment starting in March,” Carla Allen, director of Job & Family Services said.

Congress had temporarily increased SNAP Benefits in lieu of Covid-19 in 2020. With the passing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, states are no longer permitted to issue the emergency allotments after February of this year.

“This will result in SNAP recipients only receiving their normal benefits starting in March. This is a federal change, and there is no opting in or opting out,” Allen said.

She advised the only amount that is being removed is the emergency allotment amount. Recipients will be able to view their benefits through benefitsohio.gov, and she recommends families stretch their food budget and utilize other community resources when needed.

Commissioner Aultman addressed the passing of one of the committee members, Duane “Lum” Edwards. Edwards had served on the Solid Waste Board for some time.

“A lot of people knew Edwards from tractor pulling, he was the voice from a power of the past, and he’s done a lot of announcing. He was part of the Solid Waste Board and other boards,” Aultman said.

Aultman advised Edwards was heavily involved in the community

“He will be a lose,” Aultman said.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected]