SEOEMS gone but county still pays

Published 10:11 am Friday, February 11, 2011

County has obligation to pay retirement, vacation

It may be defunct, but the saga of SEOEMS goes on. At the end of 2010, the Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Services was dissolved forcing the three counties — Lawrence, Jackson and Athens — it served to come up with their own EMS.

However SEOEMS is still costing the county money. At its regularly scheduled Thursday meeting Lawrence County Commissioners approved sending to the PERS $46,332 or the county’s 40 percent portion of the SEOEMS retirement fund plus penalty and interest for late payments.

“It has to be paid,” Commission President Les Boggs said. “The longer it sits out there, the more penalty you have to pay.”

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The county will also have to pick up a portion of employee vacation pay, which Boggs estimates could run from $24,000 to $26,000. Boggs was recently appointed to the SEOEMS board as the one-time EMS is dissolved and assets and liabilities apportioned to the three counties.

“When you dissolve something, it can be very expensive,” Boggs said. “Each county will probably be into several hundred of thousands of dollars (before liquidation is complete.)”

New Lawrence County Engineer Doug Cade reported on a commission request about a footbridge in the Rock Hill School District that was washed out during the summer flooding. Commissioners had wanted to know the cost for replacement.

Cade said replacing the bridge would cost between $50,000 and $75,000. However that would not be a responsibility of the county.

“This is not a county or township bridge,” Cade said. “This not a public facility.”

Cade also said that a summer road project had gotten approval for state funding and would pave 15 miles of county roads this year. This is part of a 20-year plan to pave all the county roads, begun by former engineer David Lynd. It would be done by an outside contractor. There will also be an additional 50 miles of road paved with the chip and seal method.

In other action the commissioners:

• Approved the release of grant funds for Chatham Steel for $366,500 to build a roadway at The Point where the steel company plans to locate;

• Approved a tie-down lease agreement for Kenny Kirby at the Lawrence County Air Park;

• Declared the week of Feb. 19 to 26 as Future Farmers of America Week at the request of Symmes Valley students, Shawna Myers and Brittany Norris.

• Approved the tax lien administration budget of $70,500.