Statistics show big drop in welfare rolls

Elkrun Township trustees want a local hearing on a liquor permit request.
LISBON -- Columbiana County's welfare rolls have plummeted since the introduction of welfare reform in 1997.
County commissioners were told Wednesday that 1,189 families in the county were receiving cash assistance in 1997.
As of February this year, the number of families getting the assistance stands at 198, reported Barbara McDade a supervisor with the county department of Job and Family Services.
Largely responsible for prompting the reduction was the passage of a federal law limiting total cash assistance to 60 months.
Average monthly payment
In Columbiana County, the aid averages about $375 per month and is paid by the federal government. The time limit encouraged many welfare recipients to get jobs.
Those families still receiving the assistance are mostly those facing issues such as health troubles that make finding work difficult, McDade said.
As a condition of receiving cash assistance, the county requires recipients to work as volunteers at selected sites in the county and to undergo training to develop their job skills.
The aim of the effort is to aid recipients in overcoming barriers and entering the work force before their 60-month assistance limit has been reached.
Also on agenda
In other business, commissioners agreed to request that a liquor permit application hearing be conducted by the state at the county courthouse. Commissioners are submitting the hearing request on behalf of Elkrun Township trustees.
Officials from the state Division of Liquor Control will run the hearing and decide whether to issue the permit. The state also has the option of denying the request to hold the hearing in Lisbon and may require that it be conducted in Columbus.
The trustees are opposed to an permit application filed by Ruth Wilkinson of Columbiana, the new owner of the Lock 24 restaurant and bar on state Route 154 in the township.
Wilkinson is seeking a permit to sell alcohol at the business until 2:30 a.m. She also wants to be able to sell alcohol on Sundays.
Wilkinson has said previously that she wants to remodel the business to include creating a sports bar.