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Commissioners question legality of paying Law Library bills with general fund money

By Carol McIntire

Carroll County Commissioners are wondering if action they took earlier this month is legal.

Commissioners approved the transfer of  $24,000 from the Clerk of Court’s title fund to the county general fund to pay bills incurred by the Law Library during a Dec. 13 meeting.

During the Dec. 20 meeting, commissioners Tom Wheaton and Doyle Hawk approved the transfer of $17,000 from the health insurance fund within the commissioners budget to pay for additional bills for the law library. As they were preparing to approve the appropriations, Wheaton said, “We need to get an attorney general’s opinion on whether we can use general fund money to pay bills for the Law Library. We are not mandated by law to pay their bills so we need to find out if what we did earlier this month is legal.”

Wheaton said commissioners asked Prosecuting Attorney Donald Burns for an opinion, but Burns said he supported both commissioners and the Law Library and cannot render an opinion. He suggested they ask the Ohio Attorney General for an opinion. Wheaton noted this could be a problem since it usually takes a month or longer to receive a response from the attorney general and the last meeting of the year is next week.

Commissioners then rescinded the motion to transfer the $17,000 and approved appropriations, excluding the one to pay the Law Library bill.

Commissioners have discussed a significant shortfall in the law library budget several times during the year.

In other business, commissioners:
-SIGNED voluntary demolition agreement with Atlee Rosenberger on Chalon Rd., and Ken Jenkins of Midway Rd. under the terms of the Moving Ohio Forward grant.

-APPROVED road use maintenance agreements with Cardinal Gas Services to use portions of the following roads for access to the Stoney Ale Pipeline for well connects to the Walters and Gartrell wells: Derry, Desert, Cologne, Diamond, Chalon, Satellite, Cashmere, Poinsettia and Pomona.

-CHANGED the date of the Dec. 27 commissioners meeting to Dec. 28 and noted they will meet in regular session Dec. 31. They also moved the date for the bid opening for the construction of the golf course at Atwood Resort and Golf Club to Jan. 3 at 9:30 a.m.

-DISCUSSED a meeting Wheaton attended concerning expanding the General Educational Development (GED) program to include the court systems and child support department and possible funding mechanisms.

-LEARNED from Commissioner Hawk a crew hired by the company that manufactured the roof material installed on the jail is expected to seal seams are breaking down. Hawk said he expects a portion of the roof to be replaced in the spring of 2013, and suggested the company replace the entire roof at no cost to the county.

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