William F. Hutson called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. with Adam Friedrick and Patricia G. Geissman present. The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer.
The minutes of the February 13, 2018 Commissioners’ meeting were emailed in advance. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the minutes; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE. Highway Administrative Assistant Doug King presented and reviewed a resolution approving the final change order to the contract for MED-CR-50-6.79, the resurfacing of Chippewa Road (C.R.50) from Lake Road (C.R.19) to S.R.3, between Kokosing Construction Company and the Medina County Board of Commissioners. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the resolution; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
The commissioners reviewed the permits issued February 8-14, 2018.
Finance Director Mike Pataky presented and reviewed the following resolutions: (1) amending the Annual Appropriation resolution; (2) amending the 2018 Appropriations Resolution by transferring appropriations; (3) cash transfer to the Crippled Children’s Health Fund; (4) expenditure adjustments for various funds; (5) authorizing the purchase of 6,400 gallons of regular unleaded gasoline for the Engineering Center; (6) authorizing the execution of a Stop Loss Agreement and addendum with Medical Mutual of Ohio for the provision of employee health plan services; (7) authorizing an amendment to the agreement with FirstEnergy Solutions for the electric aggregation program; (8) allowing expenses of the Adult Probation Department; and (9) allowing expenses of county officials. Mr. Pataky requested payment of the weekly bills in the amount of $929,882.13. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the nine resolutions and to pay the bills; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
Human Resources Director Holly Muren presented and reviewed a resolution approving personnel changes for the employees under the jurisdiction of the Medina County Commissioners. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the resolution; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE. Sanitary Engineer Amy Lyon-Galvin presented and reviewed a resolution authorizing the Sanitary Engineering Department to advertise for bid for four vehicles. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the resolution; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
Building Department Acting Director Richard Nelson distributed the Medina County Building Department Monthly Report for January 2018. The new residential home starts are up over January of last year, commercial permits are down slightly and the value of the permits is down considerably.
Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Jeff Van Loon reported that the following meetings had been held: (1) Ohio Forest Tax Law meeting (they had 50 attendees); (2) Farmland Preservation meeting (four farms represented); and (3) Chippewa Lake Group meeting (will be training some of them on how to take water samples and macroinvertebrate samples). They will be having their County Storm Water Commission meeting on Thursday for the 15 Phase II communities that exist in our county. There are 11 townships, 3 cities and the county commissioners that are a part of that. Mr. Van Loon also reported that several board members will be going to Columbus next Monday and Tuesday for the Federation of Soil and Water Conservation District meeting. In answer to a question posed by Mr. Hutson regarding the Chippewa Lake algae issue, Mr. Van Loon stated that they are searching for answers to what is causing the problem. One of the answers is what’s coming into it from the watershed and how is it processed in the lake itself. Chippewa Lake was here when Lake Erie was formed, and things have gone into the lake over many years. There are no answers at this time, only guesses.
Job and Family Services Director Jeff Felton presented and reviewed the following resolutions: (1) authorizing an agreement for temporary staffing services between Employ-Temps and Medina County Job and Family Services; (2) approving an agreement providing Clerk of Court services pursuant to the requirements of Title IV-D of the Social Security Act; (3) approving an agreement providing Prosecutor’s legal services pursuant to the requirements of Title IV-D of the Social Security Act; and (4) approving an agreement providing service of process pursuant to the requirements of Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the four resolutions; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
Economic Development Executive Director Bethany Dentler presented and reviewed a resolution approving a revolving loan to Petrition LLC. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the resolution; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. Mrs. Geissman stated that this is a wonderful program and it really does help economic development in Medina County. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
Veterans’ Service Commission Director/Service Officer Ed Zackery presented his CY 2017 report noting that their office provided relief for 567 Medina County veterans and their families in 2017; eight percent were new clients from the previous year that they had never seen before. There was $332,475.65 in vouchers written for 2017 and $334,270.58 in vouchers paid out. The average dollar amount spent on each veteran for financial assistance was $585.32; this is lower than the previous year, but still up from the last ten years. Medina County has nineteen active veteran organizations throughout the county that they work very closely with. Recently, there has been a startup of a new veterans’ group from Desert Storm which covers from the Persian Gulf War all the way up to Iraq and Afghanistan; they have been meeting once a month.
Continuing, Mr. Zackery reported that they provided transportation for 1,231 veterans to the VA medical centers in Cleveland (Wade Park), Parma and Akron. They partnered with the Parma Vet Center seven years ago; they provide psychological counseling to veterans and their families for PTSD. They are at the Professional Building off the square in Medina every Monday and Wednesday. Last year, they saw 537 appointments. Anyone wishing to make an appointment may call 440-845-5023 and ask for an appointment in Medina. There are still two group homes for veterans in the county and the VA also contracts with several nursing homes within the county.
Last year, they filed the second most VA claims that they have ever filed; this includes 532 new VA claims in 2017 along with four appeals and assisted nearly 2,500 veterans and family members with paperwork for the VA. All together with van riders, immediate assistance, VA claims and ancillary benefits, they made 3,031 appointments in 2017. They saw a $4M increase in the 2016 numbers over 2015 regarding compensation and pension expenditures and they expect those numbers to rise for 2017. The VA spent $63M on Medina County veterans in 2016 which is an increase from $55M in 2015. Their 2017 operating costs were slightly higher than in 2016, but still significantly lower than in the previous seven years. It costs them more money to help someone with a VA claim than it does to actually provide them financial assistance. Their office ensures the veterans of our county receive the maximum benefits they are due by law. The amount of money the veterans receive from benefits each year significantly reduces the strain on both state and federal funds as well as the funds coming out of the veterans’ pockets. They have assisted the VA by providing briefings to the National Guard Unit; they also provide briefings to seniors and to anybody that wants them to talk to their organization. They partner with various agencies throughout the county. In 2017, they spent $7,925 on training for personnel in their office. Their ongoing objectives are: (1) ensure that the veterans of the county are aware of the benefits they are due and (2) continue to establish a network throughout the county so that the citizens understand the accomplishments of the veterans and the successes they will bring to Medina County in the future.
Mr. Hutson asked how many veterans are in Medina County. Mr. Zackery answered that in the last census, there were 13,865. Because of the outreach they do, he estimates they reach about 60 percent of the veterans in the county. On the basis of those coming into the office, they are at about 25 percent.
Commissioner Hutson presented a liquor permit for C2 and C2X permits from Medina Convenient Inc., dba BP Medina located at 2900 Medina Road, Montville Township, Medina, Ohio to RCJ Petroleum LLC, dba Rita 1 NP located at the same address. There were no comments.
Commissioner Hutson noted that there was one person making public comments. He reminded that the time limit was five minutes.
Pauline Chapman, 7328 Wooster Pike, Seville, Ohio stated that she wished to express her dismay over the commissioners attempt at discrediting the Community Legal Environmental Defense Fund. It’s an organization dedicated to fighting for and with residents against big oil and gas interest who are using imminent domain as legal construct originally intended to allow communities to build public infrastructure for good, not for private gain; this is stealing from private citizens. The current political climate seems excessively geared toward corporate greed and the interest of wealthy citizens who can and do contribute to politicians’ campaigns rather than for people who voted them into office. The oil and gas industry represents hundreds of millions of dollars, but only if these unnecessary pipelines can be constructed to run the gas into Canada to be sold on the open market. These pipelines are not infrastructures for benefit of the public but rather for the private corporate interests, and they do so at the expense of private citizens. Ms. Chapman congratulated the commissioners on their lack of negotiating prowess regarding NEXUS easements comparing agreements between them and Medina County to the agreements with the City of Green. She stated that the NEXUS gas compressor station will have a 26,000 horsepower compressor to pressurize the gas up to 1,500 psi in a 36 inch pipeline, and fallout from the blowdowns of these compressor stations can affect the levels of contamination in soil and water, and more alarmingly, cause a number of health issues for individuals within a radius of up to five miles from the station. Elevated levels of noise and bright lights will also be a concern with citizens who are unfairly forced to live with that. She added that Sam Rubens of the Air Quality Management District explained why they only do ozone surveys and no health surveys. Considering the contamination risks posed by these pipelines as evidenced repeatedly in other states, extensive regular testing must include health and particulate matter surveys in order to protect the citizens that live near these stations. She urged the commissioners to reconsider their past refusal to donate to the fund set up by Sustainable Medina County to perform air monitoring and testing. She asked for contributions to be sent to Sustainable Medina County Monitoring, P.O. Box 1033, Wadsworth, OH 44282.
Mr. Friedrick moved to go into Executive Session after the Discussion Session to consider the purchase of property for public purposes; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Geissman. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
With no further business to come before the Commissioners, the meeting recessed at 9:54 a.m.
At 9:55 a.m., the Commissioners began the Discussion Session.
Bethany Dentler stated that as they were preparing for their tax abatement reviews, it came to their attention that there was an error in a tax abatement for the Holiday Inn Express in Montville Township. That project had been approved a couple of years ago. As they looked into it, they realized that the parcel number was incorrect in the original abatement and they need to make sure that it’s corrected. She wants to provide proper notice to the schools, so she will probably come back in March for approval of the abatement.
Fiber Network Update
David Corrado provided an update on the Medina County Fiber Network. He stated they finished 2017 with 12 carriers connected to the network, approximately 150 customers, and they now serve 8 of the 10 largest employers in Medina County. Regarding their five-year business plan, they exceeded their goal by about 5 percent with regard to the debt service equivalent amount. There is still money that needs to be raised through operational revenue to cover overhead and direct expenses, but the five-year plan was to make sure that at the end of five years, they would have the revenue which would be equivalent to the bond debt; they are on their way to achieving that this year. They have three of the largest carriers in the United States connected to the network and are now working with the City of Fairlawn and are talking with other counties. They have some new companies in Medina County that will be starting production in the spring, and one of the primary reasons is because we have fiber. He stated there continues to be growth and there is interest from some other carriers in some new areas such as residential. Bill Hutson asked if he thinks the network will be self-sufficient by the end of 2018. Mr. Corrado answered that it will have equivalent revenue of the bond, but they will still need to raise additional revenue to cover operations and overhead. He is hopeful that through consolidation with some of the networks they are working with, they will be able to reduce that dollar amount. They also have an RFP going out to try to reduce their network operations center costs. Mrs. Geissman stated that she was very pleased to hear that they would have the monies that the county picks up now for the bond, but she asked if this means they still will not be able to pay that $1.2M. Mr. Corrado answered that they will have about $30,000-$45,000 per month for direct operations and overhead costs, but their target for this year is to pay $475,000 of the $1.2M. The rest of the money will be used to finish expansion to get to that so at the end of 2018, they should be at $100,000 per month which is the equivalent of the bond debt. They won’t be able to pay the entire debt in 2019 as they will still need to cover their operations and overhead. Mr. Friedrick noted that from the start, Mr. Corrado has used $135,000 a month as a self-sufficiency; that still seems to be an accurate estimate of what’s it’s going to take to retire the debt and cover the operational costs. It seems like we’re on our way there.
In answer to a question posed by Mrs. Geissman, Mr. Corrado stated that they are not planning to hire more people. They have been using the 1099 method of employment. They occasionally run campaigns where they have a sales firm on a four-month contract to see how they will do; they are calling about 800 companies that are within 1,000 feet of the fiber network. They have found it’s better to keep everyone on a 1099 so they can move resources in and out depending on project size and where they are at the end of the year. This model has worked well for them. Mrs. Geissman stated that she is glad they have more income coming in and more connections. She hopes this continues because that $1.2M is a real handicap to the county. Mr. Hutson asked if perhaps by the end of 2019 they anticipate to be at least at a break-even basis. Mr. Corrado answered that it could be possible.
Solid Waste District Negotiations
Amy Lyon-Galvin reported that she had been called out of the office unexpectedly last Thursday on a family matter. She has meetings scheduled over the next couple of weeks to continue contract negotiations with Rumpke and Entsorga for Solid Waste District operations.
Mr. Hutson stated that the Medina Sunrise Rotary approached him regarding the possibility of them funding the cost of taking the bicentennial bell and putting it in a more prominent place; the bell currently sits in the lobby of the prosecutor’s office and is not visible. The commissioners discussed possible locations including the square, the park off the square and in front of the courthouse. The commissioners agreed that it’s worth exploring.
Mr. Hutson showed the framed bicentennial painting done by Richard Doyle to commemorate the county bicentennial; Mr. Doyle donated it to the county. It will be displayed in the commissioners’ hearing room. Mr. Hutson noted that prints can also be made and sold to raise some money for the bicentennial. Mr. Hutson expressed his appreciation for Mr. Doyle’s work.
At 10:09 a.m., the Commissioners went into the Executive Session that had been voted on earlier. The Executive Session ended at 11:04 a.m.
There being no further business, Mr. Friedrick moved to adjourn the meeting; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Geissman. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE. The meeting ended at 11:04 a.m.
RESOLUTIONS PASSED FEBRUARY 20, 2018
18-0095 Allowing claims and authorizing issuance upon the treasurer in settlement of such list of claims Commissioners’ Minutes Page 4 of 4 February 20, 2018
18-0096 Approving the final change order to the contract for MED-CR50-6.79, the resurfacing of Chippewa Road (C.R.50) from Lake Road (C.R.19) to S.R. 3, between Kokosing Construction Company and the Medina County Board of Commissioners
18-0097 Amending the Annual Appropriation resolution
18-0098 Amending the 2018 Appropriations resolution by transferring appropriations
18-0099 Cash transfer to the Crippled Children’s Health Fund
18-0100 Expenditure adjustments for various funds
18-0101 Authorizing the purchase of 6,400 gallons of regular unleaded gasoline for the Engineering Center
18-0102 Authorizing the execution of a Stop Loss Agreement and addendum with Medical Mutual of Ohio for the provision of employee health plan services
18-0103 Authorizing an amendment to the agreement with FirstEnergy Solutions for the electric aggregation program
18-0104 Allowing expenses of the Adult Probation Department
18-0105 Allowing expenses of county officials
18-0106 Approving personnel changes for the employees under the jurisdiction of the Medina County commissioners
18-0107 Authorizing the Sanitary Engineering Department to advertise for bid for four vehicles
18-0108 Authorizing an agreement for temporary staffing services between Employ-Temps and Medina County Job and Family Services
18-0109 Approving an agreement providing Clerk of Court services pursuant to the requirements of Title IV-D of the Social Security Act
18-0110 Approving an agreement providing prosecutor’s legal services pursuant to the requirements of Title IV-D of the Social Security Act
18-0111 Approving an agreement providing service of process pursuant to the requirements of Title IV-D
of the Social Security Act18-0112 Approving a revolving loan to Petrition LLC
All deliberations concerning official business and formal actions by this Board of Commissioners were conducted in an open public meeting this twentieth day of February 2018.