Looks like the county can spend it

Published 12:51 pm Friday, June 19, 2015

After approximately two years of wondering and debating, the $250,000 check from LM Associates from the transfer of the Sherman Thompson Towers apparently can now officially go into the county coffers.

Now the question is how will it be spent?

Those decisions should be made in the next two weeks, according to commission president Les Boggs.

Among possible ways to spend the money would be shoring up shortages in officeholders’ budgets, including the sheriff’s office, Boggs said.

However, Boggs does not see any of the proceeds going toward moving the county jail to Franklin Furnace, stating $500,000 has already been allocated for that.

At its regular Thursday meeting the Lawrence County Commissioners received a letter from the Auditor of State concerning the quarter of a million dollar check that chief deputy auditor Chris Kline has asked the state auditor to weigh in on. The auditor’s office was concerned that there could be restrictions that would cause the county to have to repay it, if it were spent.

“AOS does not have the authority to provide Lawrence County with a legal opinion concerning the disposition of the funds,” the letter from Mark Altier, state auditor chief legal counsel, states. “No other known entity has a residual interest in the proceeds from the disposition of the property. Therefore we can find no impediment to Lawrence County’s receipt and expenditure of the proceeds.”

The check was a donation from Leroy Eslinger of LM Associates who had asked the county commission for its assistance in removing a reversionary clause that would turn ownership of the senior living complex to the Ironton Metropolitan Housing Authority. The authority owned the property that was managed by LM Associates. The management company said it wanted to make improvements at the complex so it wanted sole ownership of building and land.

About a year later, LM Associates sold the complex to Cleveland-based Millennia Housing Development for $5.5 million.

In other action the commission:

• Authorized interim county engineer Patrick Leighty to sign amended agreement for County Road 31 resurfacing increasing the maximum federal funds;

• Awarded legal service for child support enforcement to McCown and Fisher for $85 an hour;

• Received the weekly dog warden report where three dogs were destroyed, 55 sent to rescue or were adopted and none were redeemed by owners.