ICC to meet on building purchase

Published 7:43 am Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Regular meetings resume Dec. 28

The Ironton City Council will have a special meeting at noon today.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the building that the Ironton Municipal Court bought in late August.

There has been discussions on the matter in city council because the judge bought the land and building and the council was unaware of it until it was brought to their attention three days later at a council meeting.

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Councilman Kevin Waldo, who won the Ironton Municipal judge position in the fall general election, called the meeting.

Waldo has said that no municipal court in the United States could be the owner of real estate.

On Aug. 21, Ironton Municipal Judge O. Clark Collins Jr. met with the Briggs Lawrence County Public Library board and made an agreement to buy three lots at the corner of Vernon and Fourth streets, between the library and the Ironton City Center, for $150,000.

The property had been used as the library’s administrative building and has two parking lots.

Collins said the building was bought under Ohio Revised Code 1901.26 (B) (1), which states, in part, “the municipal court may determine that, for the efficient operation of the court, additional funds are necessary to acquire and pay for special projects of the court including, but not limited to, the acquisition of additional facilities or the rehabilitation of existing facilities, the acquisition of equipment, the hiring and training of staff, community service programs…”

The building is being renovated for use by the court’s probation department. The lots will be used for storing the community service trucks, trailers and mowing equipment.

Collins said no taxpayer money was used for the purchase, and that the funds came out of the municipal court’s Special Projects Fund.

“And that’s exactly what that statute says, that we can acquire existing facilities,” he said in August. “The property is right next to us, I think it makes perfect sense.”

Collins will retire on Dec. 31, since Ohio has a law that doesn’t allow anyone to be over the age of 70 when they take the office.

On Dec. 28, the Ironton City Council will have a meeting of the finance committee at 5 p.m. and a joint meeting with the Upper Township Trustees at 5:45 p.m. regarding appointments to the Woodland Cemetery Board of Trustees. The council will meet in regular session at 6 p.m.