First meeting of year complete

Published 12:37 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Weekly meeting time will be on Tuesdays

The Lawrence County Commission had its first meeting of the year Monday after an organizational meeting set the commission president, vice president and weekly commission times for the remainder of 2017.

Commissioner Bill Pratt will serve as the commission president with Commissioner Freddie Hayes Jr. as the vice president. Weekly commission meetings were set for 11 a.m. on Tuesdays in the commission chambers on the third floor of the Lawrence County courthouse. At 1 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month, the commissioners will conduct their work session, which will also serve as the monthly officeholder meeting. However, this work session time will begin in March, as the first work session will be Wednesday, Feb. 8 at another location and time which is still to be determined.

Several items were on the docket for Monday’s meeting.

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The commissioners:

• Approved and signed the weekly invoices and certificates as presented by the Auditor’s office.

• Received and filed the monthly EMS report dated for Dec. 2016.

• Approved 14 transfer funds.

• Elevated Dwayne Bench from EMT to Advanced EMT with corresponding pay increase effective Jan. 15, 2017.

• Approved the amendment for Stantec No. 1 General Services Agreement that extends the period of service from Nov. 19, 2015 to the period of Oct. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2017 for the Airport Advisory Board.

• Re-appointed Kevin Turvey as Lawrence County’s Apairy Inspector for the 2017 season.

• Received and filed the correspondence from the Ohio Public Defender’s Office regarding the rates for Public Defenders in 2017.

• Adopted a resolution raising the fees paid for representation of indigent defendants to the maximum rate to which the county can be reimbursed by the state. In-court time would be $60 per hour and out of court-time would be $50 per hour. Prior to passing, Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson expressed his support for the measure, stating that defense attorneys in Lawrence County have not received a raise since the mid-70s, and although it doesn’t affect him at all, he thought it was much needed. He said various counties of the same size have gone to this, including Scioto County.

• Approved and signed the CEBCO Wellness Grant for services from Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2017.

• Approved and signed the correspondence regarding the Annual Report for the Programmatic Agreement for Lawrence County, as requested by Cindy Anderson, Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization (CAO).

• Approved and signed the Contract for Services Agreement between the Ironton-Lawrence County CAO and Economic Development Fund, the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program and HOMR Program.

• Approved the departmental budget for the year 2017 from Probate-Juvenile Court.

• Approved the total revenue for the Ohio Department of Youth Services FY17 Care and Custody Grant (July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017).

• Approved the resolution authorizing the county engineer to proceed by Force Account for normal maintenance and repair of county roads.

• Received and filed the grand jury report dated Dec. 19-20, 2016. Lawrence  County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson talked about the purpose of a grand jury, which is to formally charge felony crimes, and explained some duties that they have, which include touring and reviewing the local jail facilities. He said that although this particular grand jury believed the conditions and state of the county jail were good, they believe the ORV facility should be utilized, as does himself. He added that although they know it would cost the county in the beginning to move the jail to the facility, they believed it would save the county money in the long run.

• Received and referred the correspondence from the Ohio Division of Liquor Control to the Fayette Township Trustees for approval. This is about the measure to sell alcohol at Casa Grande Mexican Restaurant, which passed during last year’s election. Once it goes through the trustees, it comes back to commission for final approval.

• Approved and signed the Tier 2 Survey presented by Shield Environmental as requested by Bill Nenny.

• Approved the Lawrence County Department of Job and Family Services to accept McCown and Fisher LPA, contractor bid of $55 per hour for legal services to be provided to the LCDJFS Child Support Enforcement Agency for the forthcoming contract term of Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2017. Commission also approved the LCDJFS to accept the Jenna J. Waldo LPA, contractor bid of $59 per hour for the forthcoming contract term of Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2017 as a secondary alternative in the event it may be necessary for McCown and Fisher to conflict out of specific cases.

• Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham gave a report to the commissioners and said that sales tax was up $7,000 in December over December of 2015, and was a total of $138,000 higher in 2016 than in 2015. This reversed a four-month trend in which sales taxes substantially decreased until December. Online payments were up $124,000 in 2016 over 2015, and Burcham said that the county should break $1 million in online payments this year. For real estate taxes, Burcham said that in 2017, the interest on investments is $257,000 versus that of $151,000 in 2016. In 2016, total first half real estate tax collections totaled $20 million, Which Burcham said will be closer to $22 million for the first half of this year. Around 75 percent of real estate tax collections go to local school districts. Burcham said tax bills were sent out this past Friday, and if you don’t receive it, call the Lawrence County treasurer’s office at 740-533-4304.

The commissioners also met for two executive sessions. The first was approximately 45 minutes and involved LCDJFS director Terry Porter about personnel; hire, fire, reprimand. The second was just under two hours, and involved Lawrence County Auditor Jason Stephens, Lawrence County Chief Auditor Chris Kline and Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson regarding personnel; hire, fire, reprimand, real estate. No action was taken during either session.