Child support job seekers to receive assistance

Unemployed child support obligors ordered into a seek-work program will receive some assistance in trying to find a job.

County commissioners this week approved the recommendation of county Department of Job and Family Services Director Eileen Dray-Bardon to provide gas vouchers for child support obligors enrolled in the Seek Work program administered through the JFS’s Child Support Enforcement Agency.

The JFS already has a gas voucher program in which the working poor who meet income guidelines are eligible for up to $100 per year to purchase gasoline to get to and from work. Dray-Bardon said county judges recently suggested expanding the program to include unemployed child support obligors they order into the Seek Work program as part of their sentence.

The 97 people who owe child support and are currently enrolled in the Seek Work program could use the vouchers to purchase gasoline for trips to job interviews, job fairs or to undergo job training. Eligible participants cannot earn more than 130 percent of the current federal poverty level, which is about $15,000 for a single person or $31,000 for someone from a household of four.

Participants are given vouchers that can only be redeemed at Smith Oil gas stations, which forwards the voucher in to the JFS for payment. JFS public assistance administrator Louann Dunham said staff in the child support division are responsible for verifying recipients in the Seek Work program are going to job interviews or undergoing job training.

In other action at this week’s meeting, commissioners:

– Designated Commissioner Tim Weigle to represent the board in negotiating a new contract with FirstEnergy, which provides a significant portion of the county Emergency Management Agency’s funding.

– Approved the recommendation of county Engineer Bert Dawson and accepted the low bid of $640,000 from Barbicas Construction of Akron to repave a section of Calcutta-Smith Ferry Road in St. Clair Township. The section is from Park Way to the Pennsylvania state line.

– Held the required public hearing on an application by Mark R. Perry to close a half-acre section of Gaston Road in Negley that is not being used. No one showed up in opposition, and commissioners intend to tour the site before acting on the request, by which time they also hope to have something in writing on the Middleton Township trustees’ position on the request.