Commissioners decide to re-bid project; field budget questions from sheriff
By Taylor Kaser -
Bids for improvements on Kenny Lane and Co. Rd. 168 in Cardington were approved for advertisement again at the commissioners May 30 meeting.
Only one bid was received for the paving projects initially. The bid submitted was $26,000 over the engineer’s estimate for the project.
Director of Operations Pat Davies said that some of the bid specs have been changed, including the window of time available for the project, which has been lengthened.
New bids will be accepted on June 25 at 11 a.m.
Sheriff Steve Brenneman asked the commissioners why responsibility for paying the CORSA insurance bill has been deferred to his office.
“As things change, we’ve expended all the money plus the additional; we’ve already paid $10,000 and $18,000 additional,” answered Commissioner Tom Whiston, “So we felt it appropriate for you to be chairing on that.”
Brenneman then asked Commissioner Tom Harden if he had ever been asked to pay the CORSA bill during his tenor as Sheriff — he answered ‘no.”
“The insurance rate went up 18% for the office,” said Brenneman, “the county overall rate only went up 10%.”
Harden stated that the commissioners did ask the insurance company why the Sheriff’s Office rate was increased. “They said because we had more prisoners and more employees,” said Harden, “the insurance company said there’s an exposure to the policy, the exposure is how they rate a policy. I disagree with them.”
“The rates went down significantly when we laid off,” Brenneman said. ”We didn’t get that pushed back out there for the savings the county made when the rates went way down. Why am I being told to pay it when it goes back up to where it had been?”
Commissioner Olen Jackson said, “You have to compare the budgets of when he [Harden] was in office, to the budget that you’re in now. They’re completely different. We [the county] just took a $2.5 million decrease. But agreed to give you every penny that that ICE contract brought in, and I sat and talked with you at times and said, ‘If we get in trouble, we need to look back at that ICE contract.”
Brenneman stated that his office has taken the most significant portion of the cuts made to the budget. “You’ve kept taking money from the general fund funding away from it with that ICE money too.”
“At this point in time we’re just looking for any penny we can find to pay the bill because we don’t have the money in the general fund to pay the bill,” said Jackson.
“We try to work with everybody,” Whiston said, “but from the standpoint of thinking you get a reduction, how you stated, if you never paid anything, why would we give you money back from something you hadn’t paid?”
“Why am I being punished for when it goes back up then?” asked Brenneman, ”Why am I being told to pay it when it comes back up, when I didn’t get anything when it went down?”
“Because it becomes an additional expense we didn’t have revenue for,” answered Whiston. “We used every penny we had. Come July 1, I think we’ll have to reevaluate everybody’s budget.”
“We put $50,000 in a rainy day fund, knowing that for the past two years we’ve not had a cent in a rainy day fund for things that come up, and things did come up,” said Jackson, “We took money out of that $50,000 and bought you new cruisers.”
“I’m asking why I’m paying for something I never paid for before.” said Brenneman.
“You aren’t the only one that’s been asked to pay the additional,” said Whiston. He cited the Dog Warden and Johnsville Sewer as examples. “We will continue to evaluate things as best we can, things are going to be tight.”
In other business, transfer of funds were approved for the Prosecutor’s office and Common Pleas Court.
An amended certificate of $1,350 was received from the sale of vehicle parts from old cruisers. The funds will put towards replacement/Sheriff’s vehicles.
Notification was received from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that the application to administer brine to private roads and surfaces owned by Walter and Karen Fishburn and Campground Management, Inc. was approved.
A public hearing regarding the 2012 Small Cities Grant program is being held June 11 at 10 a.m.
A public hearing regarding the 2012 County Tax Budget was scheduled for June 25 at 10 a.m by the commissioners at their June 4 meeting.
Additional funding received by the Budget Commission for the Court of Common Pleas for DYS program fees. The amount, $26,074.89, was appropriated to Other Expenses.
Revenue received from the HVEO Grant was appropriated to Salaries, $1,104.10, at the Sheriff’s request.
Due to population changes, Morrow County will now only be appointing two members to the ten member Delaware-Morrow Mental Health & Recovery Services Board. The number of seats occupied by each county is determined by county population, according to the Ohio Revised Code. The county previously held four seats.
Approval was given for the submission of a new grant for the Court of Common Pleas. Called the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant, funding will be federal and administered through the state. It will cover one year of funding and be renewable for an additional year. The application was explained by Probation Officer Amanda Wheeler.
“It does require a 10% local match,“ explained Wheeler, “however, because it is a federal grant, we can provide that 10% match through our state funding. That has already been allocated through the continuation of our current DYS grant.”
Funding from the grant will be used to hire an additional full time probation officer who will cover juvenile diversion. She stated that the needed funds have already been allocated to cover PERS and Medicare, as well as some fringe benefits. The position will focus on addressing state requested matters through the juvenile probation department.
Wheeler explained the term juvenile diversion, ”It’s a program that is provided for first time, non-violent misdemeanor unruly juvenile offenders, to give them a chance not to have a juvenile record. It’s very valuable and deemed very successful.”
If the grant is awarded, it will be put into affect July 1.
“If we can produce the data, if we can show reduction in detainment, show success rates — that’s what the state wants.” said Wheeler. She said if the program proves that it’s saving money, it will be easier to receive further help and funding in the future.