Deliquent taxes and road work budget top topics at Jan. 16 commissioners’ meeting
By Randa Wagner -
The new year always brings discussion of budgets and change in the county. Morrow County Commissioners discussed road work estimates and County Treasurer Dan Green’s retirement in the fall.
Commissioner Dick Miller asked Green if he has a ‘transition plan’ in place (for the new treasurer) before his term ends the first Monday of September, 2013. Green said nothing was firm yet, but said he needs to get treasurer-elect Tim Garry lined up with the New Treasurer’s Training,* commencing in late March or early April.
“The Budget Commission is the bigger issue,” Green said. “I’d like to spend some time with him and show him what Mary (Holtrey) and I have done in the past.”
Green said the new treasurer has to have a bond,** and he needs to get going and get Garry acclimated and familiar with some of the things he’ll be responsible for.
“I’ve also informed him that those girls out there on the front line are the heart and soul (of the office); they do the everyday things, and they do them right,” Green said of his office staff.
When asked by the commissioners about tax collections, Green said taxes are coming in, “in amazing amounts of cash. It’s interesting that people have that kind of cash.”
“Did you sell any more accounts to the (Tax Ease) company?” asked Commissioner Tom Harden.
There wasn’t very many in the last group – about 50, Green said. “I told them (Tax Ease) they need to take a harder look at some of these; see if they’ll take some more.”
“What’s the percentage of delinquency on taxes in the county?” asked Commissioner Tom Whiston.
“It fluctuates,” Green said. “It used to be it would jump up to ten percent, then drop down to five. Right after collections periods is when it’s the highest. Then we start chipping away.”
Green said Tax Ease, LP has made collection of taxes better in the county.
“I always thought my job as treasurer was to collect taxes and not throw people out of their houses,” Green said.
“It’s not our intent to have them thrown out of their house either,” said Harden. “Our intent is they work with you (Green) and make their payments. We meet frequently about the delinquent tax list, and none of us want anyone to be kicked out of their home.”
Green pointed out that the names that are published on the delinquent tax list that is released with the newspaper are always first-time delinquencies. Names cannot be listed twice.
“I’d have to put out a phone book (if I included all the names of delinquent cases),” Green said. “People ask me a lot, ‘why aren’t people paying their taxes? Heck, I don’t know why they aren’t paying their taxes.”
County Engineer Randy Bush submitted these Force Account Estimates for 2013 road and bridge maintenance work:
A. Item 409 Seal $13,765.42 per mile
B. Gravel for berming and building bases $12,802.63 per mile
C. Limestone for berming, building bases $15.991.06 per mile
D. Ditching and berming $17,311.65 per mile
E. Hand patching $1,732.08 per mile
F. Maintaining Traffic-Bound Roads $1,585.85 per mile
G. Roadside mowing $178.57 per mile
H. Snow Removal $2,750.19 per mile
I. Bridge Replacement and/or repair Under $100,000.00 per bridge project
J. Culvert Replacement and/or Repair.. Under $100,000.00 per culvert project
K. Road Work Under $30,000.00 per mile
‘Force account’ work is determined by categories, the commissioners explained, and there’s a certain amount of money that can be spent without going through the bid process. Some work (usually small projects), already have a pre-determined rate, Commissioner Whiston said, so Bush can go ahead and proceed with the project without bringing it to the commissioners to get the work bid.
“With county employees, you can do work like blacktopping and guardrail work without being encumbered by bidding everything,” said Commissioner Miller. “Having the right blend of knowing what your capabilities are and coordinating the activity is what makes a good system work.”
John Stinehelfer, IT Specialist for Morrow County offices, received a quote from CDW-G (provider of technology solutions) for $4,009.91 for back-up computer protection. The county has been having issues with computer viruses and malware that have disabled or interrupted some sites.
The following pay-ins were made to the auditor’s office: M. Weiler for health insurance premium $561.52; Ketterman residents for sewer maintenance and operations $92.18; Ketterman– City of Galion $435.16; Johnsville residents for sewer debt $39.00; Johnsville sewer maintenance and operations $442.00; Johnsville sewer debt retirement $260.00; Payment from general fund for local match on Airport Improvement Project $1,398.83; Reimbursement from Development Office for internet service $8.92; Auditor’s Office for document storage $1,252.88; Harmony, Peru and South Bloomfield Townships for EMA services $3,785.72; Johnsville residents for sewer debt $9.00; Johnsville sewer maintenance and operations $102.00; Johnsville sewer debt retirement $60.00; Village of Chesterville for EMA services $144.13.
*Newly elected county treasurers must take initial training between December 1 and the time they take office, which involves 13 hours of education approved by the auditor of state on governmental accounting and portfolio reporting and compliance, and 13 hours approved by the treasurer of state on investments and cash management. After a year in office, county treasurers must take 24 hours of continuing education every two calendar years after the first year in office. The 24 hours of continuing education must be composed of 12 hours from the treasurer of state (CPIM) and 12 hours from the auditor of state. The training is available through the Center for Public Investment Management (CPIM).
** O.R.C. 321.02 Bond of county treasurer — Before entering upon the duties of his office, the county treasurer shall give bond to the state in such sum as the board of county commissioners directs, with a company authorized to conduct a surety business in this state as surety, to be approved by the board and conditioned for the payment of all moneys which come into his hands for state, county, township, or other purposes.