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County commissioners, health department sorting out details of building ownership, rent proposal

By Carol McIntire

A moving proposal that has many uncertain parts brought three members of the Carroll County Genealogy Society to the county commissioners meeting Monday.

Jean Scarlott, Linda Houyouse and Judy May expressed their concern with a request made by commissioners for the Genealogy Society to move from its present location at 24 2nd St. NE to the former county prosecutor’s office at 11 E. Main St.

“We didn’t even know until last Tuesday we were being asked to move,” Scarlott said. “I thought the old prosecutor’s office was condemned.”

When Commissioner Tom Wheaton responded that the building was not condemned; that structural repairs were made, Scarlott continued, “There is no parking at that building and some of our members can’t walk from 2nd St. to that building.”

Wheaton explained the Genealogy Society’s stay in the former prosecutor’s office may be brief as there are negotiations underway for the Carrollton Bicentennial Commission to purchase a building in town, lease the basement to the county for storage, establish a museum on the first floor and move the Genealogy Society in with the museum.

Scarlott asked why the society was being asked to move in the first place.

Aaron Dodds, president of the Genealogy Society and also the county’s Economic Development and Regional Planning director, explained the building occupied by the Genealogy Society was deeded to county commissioners by the late Dr. Carl Lincke. It was, at that time, being used as the Health Department’s office. The deed included a provision that if the county stopped providing office space to the Health Department, ownership of the building would revert to the Health Department.

Wheaton noted the county is now providing the building on Moody Ave. to the Health Department for its offices and the health department only uses the 2nd St. office for storage. However, he noted the county continues to pay utilities and maintain the building.

Dodds noted Rex Energy’s present office location is not safe for habitation, and they are looking for a building to rent until they can purchase land and construct a building. They looked at the former prosecutor’s office, but it was not suitable. The 2nd St. building would suit their needs.

Wheaton said in discussions with Health Commissioner Nick Cascarelli prior to this development, he indicated the Health Department would be interested in assuming ownership of the building. Commissioner Jeff Ohler was scheduled to attend the June 19 Board of Health meeting to discuss the matter, but the meeting was canceled and rescheduled for this Wednesday.

“There are a couple things on the table,” Ohler said. “The county can continue to provide space in the 2nd St. building for the Health Department and rent space in the building to Rex and continue to maintain the structure or the county can transfer ownership of the building to the Health Department and they can decide what they want to do with the building: rent it, sell it, or whatever.”

Wheaton said there is also the possibility Carrollton schools will be setting up an alternative school on the 2nd floor of the former prosecutor’s office in September.

“Superintendent Dr. Dave Quattrochi and a state official inspected the building last week and said it would be suitable,” Wheaton noted.

All those present agreed put the conversation on hold until after the Board of Health had the opportunity to discuss the matter at its June 26 meeting.

The Genealogy Society does not pay rent or utilities for the building on 2nd St.

In an unrelated matter, commissioners had a “heart-to-heart” discussion Monday.

Ohler said he was reviewing the minutes from the June 17 meeting (he had to leave early to attend a court hearing on the landfill closure case), and heard a statement made by Wheaton that the “Board wasn’t healthy.”

“”If things are broken, it is our responsibility as a board to fix it,” he said. “We need to put our own personal feelings aside and work as a board. This group certainly has to be on board and make decisions together and collaborate on a lot of different things.  I may not be perfect and there are things I may have screwed up on in the past, but let’s face it, I am human and there will be things I will screw up on in the future.”

Ohler said he had a discussion with Commissioner Wirkner. “Because of his background and investigation of things, he has a good intellect about personalities,” Ohler said. “All of us here feel we have a strong personality and can make good decisions. It is difficult for people with the same type of personalities to come together and work collaboratively as a board. We always have the best interest of the county in mind and we need to do a better job of working through things.”

Wheaton said he feels the Sunshine Law prohibits the commissioners from taking among themselves and working out their differences except in a public meeting.

“I was frustrated when I said that,” Wheaton noted.

Wirkner said the fact that the conversation was taking place proves the board doesn’t operate behind closed doors.

“Diversity enriches the decision making process,” he said. “Diversity is a healthy condition to have because it brings background experience and training from completely different disciplines to work on the decision that have to be made for the betterment of the county.”

In other business commissioners:
-OPENED the lone bid of Trbovich Trucking and Excavating LLC for $23,500 to demolish four units under the Moving Ohio Forward Demolition grant and accepted it upon the recommendation of the county’s consultant, Marshal Bleckman.

-HEARD a presentation from Steve Manceney of SC Strategic Solutions to provide a records management program for the county. Wheaton noted the county would have to bid this type of service.

-PASSED a resolution to oppose the Governor’s severance tax proposal as contained in House Bill 59. Commissioners noted they do not want to reject any monies that would benefit the residents of Carroll County, but they do not believe as presented, the tax is in the best interest of county residents.

-DISCUSSED 2014 budgets with the Carroll County Veterans Service Commission, Carroll Golden Age Retreat, county recorder, prosecutor, Emergency Management Agent and county engineer.

-AGREED to accept bids for diesel fuel and a resurfacing project.

-SET the annual budget public hearing July 11 at 9:30 a.m. in the commissioners meeting room.

-DISCUSSED changes in the Public Employees Retirement System as it pertains to contractors hired by the county.

-RECEIVED the weekly dog pound report showing 11 impounded, eight tagged and four redeemed. There were 10 citations issued to dog owners without a proper license.

-APPROVED a road use maintenance agreement with Cardinal Gas Services to use a portion of Castle Rd. in Perry Township for access to the Gotschall gathering line.

-RECEIVED a copy of an email from Wirkner informing the Sheriff’s Department their request to use the 911 wireless funds to pay dispatchers’ salaries has been approved by the Ohio Criminal Justice System. Wirker said the county receives $90,000 per year in wireless money. The county received approval to spend $80,000 per year for salaries. Previously, the county used 911 landline telephone money for salaries. Wirkner said that fund generated about $50,000 last year, all of which was used for dispatcher salaries. He expects that fund to decline as more and more residents do away with landline phones.

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