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County auditor objects to wording in meeting minutes

By Carol McIntire

Carroll County Auditor E. Leroy VanHorne took exception to the official minutes from the March 12 commissioners meeting and voiced his opinion during Thursday’s session.

“There is a tremendous misunderstanding somewhere,” VanHorne said holding a copy of the recorded minutes that related to a meeting with Regional Planning Commission (RPC) officials held the week prior which Commissioner Tom Wheaton reported on. VanHorne went on to call Wheaton’s version of the meeting “very one-sided.”

VanHorne said the minutes are incorrect and he wants something done.

“I didn’t tell you to go and look up the Revised Code on your own, but said that I would look it up,” VanHorne told Wheaton.

“That is not true,” Wheaton fired back.

“It was 7 to 1 (others in the room) and I won’t go any further with it,” VanHorne replied. 

VanHorne said in regards to a discussion on paying a regional planning director and flood plain administrator (one combined position) out of two different funds, that yes, an employee in his office is paid from two different funds.

He said although he couldn’t find anything in the Revised Code pertaining to the payment of such a position, he had a letter from Christopher Tomms of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that noted the president of county commissioners can designate anyone under their authority to act as flood plain coordinator. If it happens to be the same person as the regional planning director, a portion of the wages is to be paid from the RPC funds and the portion for the flood plain duties from the general fund.

Wheaton said the current situation is the Regional Planning Director (Ed Warner) is also the county flood plain manager and has been serving in that capacity for the past several years. Warner is retiring at the end of April. The Executive Committee of the Regional Planning Commission met Feb. 16 and voted to separate the Regional Planning director position from the Flood Plain manager. Minutes from that session noted “The hiring of a flood plain manager shall be the responsibility of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners.”

When commissioners became aware of the action, the budget for the Regional Planning office was decreased by 40 percent, which, according to Wheaton, was the amount of time the director spent on flood plain duties.

Another meeting of the Executive Committee was held March 9. Minutes from that session do no indicate any of the conversation that took place between Wheaton and VanHorne.  

In other business, commissioners:
-WERE visited by Sheila Borntrager who expressed concerns about the village of Carrollton’s water supply, campaign issues, the fact the county health department does not offer pneumonia shots for adults and stated she feels commissioners are not doing their jobs in “some areas.”

-LEARNED from Shelley Martin, director of the Child Support Enforcement Agency, the agency plans to move from it present location at 7 E. Main St., Carrollton, to 55 E.  Main St., Carrollton, on April 13. The agency will be closed that day.

-ANNOUNCED dog pound officials will begin checking licenses later this month.

-HEARD Ohler clarify a loan was negotiated with Consumers National Bank of Carrollton for the purchase of a Ford Escape from Guess Motors at a rate of 2.5 percent for Probate/Juvenile Court. Cost of the vehicle is $21,045, after the trade in of two Ford Crown Victoria cars ($900 each) and rebates. The loan is for two years. After a $15,000 payment is made, the remaining $6,000 will be paid in two payments beginning March 2013. A Probate/Juvenile grant will be used to fund the purchase.

-APPROVED the following right-of-way permits: CTL Engineering for geotechnical testing borings for pavement evaluation on Avalon Rd. in Harrison Twp. and Clay, Bachelor and Brass Rds. in Rose Twp.

-LEARNED from Wheaton that five interested parties participated in a conference call regarding the leasing of Atwood Resort and Conference Center.

-CONDUCTED a public hearing regarding the grant application for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant at the Golden Age Retreat to facilitate future development at the Commerce Park. The estimated cost of the entire project is $1.9 million which will be paid with the following funds: $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (Small Cities grant), $1.4 million from the Ohio Department of Development loan fund and/or Ohio Water Development Authority and $74,800 of local funds which will come from the Developmental Disabilities (DD) program. The grant is based on Select Energy building a new facility and creating 160 new jobs. 

Golden Age Retreat Superintendent Ollie Hawkins attended the session and asked how much land is allotted for the treatment plant. Ohler replied about a half acre of land and noted the old plant will be removed. 

-HEARD Tom Cottis, Carroll County Emergency Management Agency manager, announce Carroll County will participate in the Statewide Tornado Drill March 28 at 9:50 a.m.  The drill will last approximately 16-17 minutes and will consist of the fire siren blowing three-on, three-off and a one minute all clear signal.

-RECEIVED the dog pound report showing 12 impounded, 10 adopted, three redeemed, none euthanized and no citations issued.

-DISCUSSED selling the Lincke Apartment building, which was donated to the county.  They feel providing housing is an obligation of the private sector not county government.  According to an opinion from the prosecutor's office, they can advertise for sealed bids or hold a public auction.  They will check into deed restrictions regarding first right of refusal and the possibility of guaranteeing renters’ rates will remain the same for a six-month period from the date of transfer.  More discussion will be held during Thursday's session.

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