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 January 16, 2018 Public Hearing and January 16, 2018 Commissioners’ meeting were emailed in advance. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve both sets of minutes; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. There was no discussion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
Highway Administrative Assistant Doug King presented and reviewed a resolution authorizing the Medina County engineer to issue permits allowing existing personal property fixtures to occupy the Greenwich Road (C.R. 97) right-of-way as required by the Ohio Department of Transportation for the resurfacing of Greenwich Road from Harris Road (T.R. 149) to S.R. 3, the project known as MED-CR97-0.16. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the resolution; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. There was no discussion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
The permits of January 11-17, 2018 were reviewed.
Finance Director Mike Pataky presented the following resolutions: (1) amending the Annual Appropriation Resolution; (2) authorizing the county auditor to transfer funds from the county General Fund (0010) to the Medina County Job and Family Service Children Services Fund (0050) for adoption subsidies; (3) authorizing the county auditor to transfer funds from the county General Fund (0010) to the Medina County Job and Family Services Fund (0055) for the board and care of county wards; (4) authorizing the county auditor to transfer funds from the county General Fund (0010) to the Public Assistance Fund (0120) for county-mandated share; (5) authorizing the county auditor to transfer funds from the county General Fund (0010) to the Public Assistance Fund (0120) for the nonallocated portion of child welfare expenditures; (6) authorizing the county auditor to transfer funds from the JFS Children Services IV-E Fund (0050) to the JFS Public Assistance Fund (0120) for Children Services (IVE) administrative expenditures; (7) authorizing the county auditor to transfer funds from the JFS Children Services SCPA Fund (0050) to the JFS Public Assistance Fund (0120) for SCPA administration expenditures; (8) creation of the Home Investment Partnership Community Housing Impact and Preservation Program and authorizing appropriations; (9) creation of the Community Housing Impact and Preservation Program Community Development Block Grant Fund FY17 and authorizing appropriations; (10) designating the Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties to receive proceeds from marriage licenses and divorce fees for calendar year 2018; (11) authorizing the purchase of beverages and refreshments for various commissioner meetings; (12) allowing expenses of the county engineer; and (13) allowing expenses of county officials. Mr. Pataky requested payment of the weekly bills in the amount of $1,911,703.27. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the 13 resolutions and to pay the bills; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. There was no discussion. 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. There was no discussion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
Job and Family Services Director Jeff Felton presented and reviewed the following resolutions: (1) assigning authority to the director of Medina County Job and Family Services to serve as the board’s designee with authority to request and sign inter-county adjustment agreements on behalf of Medina County, and (2) authorizing an agreement between the Medina County commissioners and Summit and Medina Workforce Area Council of Governments. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the two resolutions; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. There was no discussion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Jeff Van Loon reported that a group of people met last week to consider strategies for the Chippewa Lake algae. A small focus group (county agencies are also involved) will be formed to do a scope of work analysis and then bring that back to the body who will decide what actions they can ask other people to do. They must ascertain the dynamics inside of the lake itself (depth, flow, water column issues, etc.) and then what to do regarding analyzing upstream – what’s coming from where (that will involve water testing, etc.). On Tuesday evening, there will be a seminar regarding the Ohio Forestry Tax Law for landowners who are managing woodlands and have a forest management plan. By having that plan, they get a 50% reduction on their property taxes for that particular acreage. Currently, there are about 300 people in the county that are in the county Auditor’s Office program. There will be a Farmland Preservation meeting on February 8 for those interested in learning about conservation and agricultural easements and how they can be used to ensure that it’s kept farmland. Regarding Senate Bill 228 and House Bill 463, there would be a 25¢ increase per ton on municipal waste going to landfills. The increase would be dispersed to Soil and Water Districts throughout Ohio.
Transit Director Mike Salamone noted that total year-to-date ridership for MCPT through December 31, 2017 was 71,548 trips. This included on-demand ridership of 34,090 and fixed route ridership of 37,458. Total ridership in December was 5,832 trips which included on-demand trips of 2,609 and fixed route trips of 3,223. In December, 327 clients were transported by on on-demand routes; the cost per trip in December was $15.17 and total cost per mile was $2.23. For the year, the cost per trip was $18.98 and the cost per mile was $2.58.
Mr. Salamone continued that on January 10, a Memorandum of Understanding was received between the State of Ohio Department of Transportation and the Medina County commissioners. Commissioner Friedrick electronically signed the MOU and returned it. The purpose of the MOU is to establish the responsibilities of the two parties regarding the FY2018 Ohio Transit Preservation Partnership Program. On January 17, Transit received a completed copy of the MOU awarding Transit $376,240 for the 2018 purchase of four vehicles; it requires no local match. Transit’s 2015-2017 Comprehensive Review site visit is scheduled for July 24-25.
Commissioner Hutson asked about the status of the fund swaps. Mr. Salamone answered that he received the GCMTA MOU from them this morning, but hadn’t reviewed it yet. The dollar amount is $637,000. The amount are funds that we weren’t able to use for capital and GCMTA could use it. We would then take their local money.
Mr. Salamone noted that there had been a couple of meetings with a taskforce. A Transit Consortium meeting would be held the following day to discuss what to do with other vehicles that belong to non-profits. He stated that they have vehicles (that’s not the problem); the problem is filling the seats. Commissioner Hutson said that United Way is involved and a few other non-profit groups. They have buses and part of their mission is to transport people which is what the county does with the county’s Transit Department. They’re looking for a way to combine and realign resources. The conversation is in its beginning stages. Leadership Medina is also involved.
Acting Chief Building Official Richard Nelson distributed the year-end Building Department report; five-year house value totals were provided. He noted that commercial reviews take 18-20 days and residential takes 4-5 days. Public hearings will be needed before a resolution can be presented to consider the adoption of the new building regulations; Scott Miller will ascertain the commissioners’ schedules. Additionally, Permit Clerk Liz Ferguson had been nominated by Charles Huber for an award that was offered from the Five-County Building Officials Association. She received a plaque and luncheon on January 3 to recognize her hard work; the award was well deserved.
Mr. Hutson said that there was one person wishing to make public comment. He reminded him that he had five minutes.
Regional Business Development Manager for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Mark Clendenin reported on the “Healthy You, Healthy Ohio” Workers’ Compensation wellness initiative. He stated that the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), as of the first of 2018, kicked off a new program, “Better You, Better Ohio”. The BWC continues its mission of protecting Ohio’s workers and providing insurance at a fair price. The program creates a better workplace wellness program for employees. The existing BWC grant program will remain in place for employers. The new program was funded by their third billion back initiative where they’ve rebated premiums back to employers the past few years. They’ve committed $6-million a year for the next two fiscal years. The program is designed and tailored to employees providing risk management and wellness elements. It also provides monetary participation to employees for participation in a wellness program. They’ve partnered with a firm from New York, Active Health (connected with Anthem); they are providing the program as BWC’s agent and are nationally recognized. This program is the first of its kind in the country and they’re looking forward to launching it. Many employers state that one of the reasons they don’t have a wellness program is participation, anticipated return on investment, administrative costs and handling, and other reasons. They’re too busy running their business and don’t have time to administer a wellness program. This program has no administrative requirements for the employer, only that the employee can participate in the program themselves. There are also no costs associated with the program for the employer. They’re targeting certain industries – agriculture, automotive repair, construction, firefighters, healthcare manufacturing, public employers, restaurant and service, transportation and trucking, trash collection, wholesale and retail, police and public safety, and injured workers. The program is important to the BWC because they need to work to prevent injuries to Ohio’s workforce, reduce severity of injuries through a healthier Ohio, increase the speed of recovery so employees can become healthier and return to work, and improve return to work outcomes so that rates can be better managed. Information provided by the employee to the wellness program will be kept private and will be between the administrator of the program and the employee. The BWC will only see information if the population of the requested data has at least 30 participants so the BWC won’t be able to determine who/where the people are.
Commissioner Hutson asked how the program integrates with a wellness program provided by an employer. Mr. Clendenin answered that if an employer already has a health and wellness program, the BWC program wouldn’t be applicable. However, for those small employers who don’t have a program, it’s a great opportunity for them to engage their employees into a wellness program without the cost and administrative burden of putting a wellness program in place. The BWC is for a company with approximately 50 or fewer employees.
Commissioner Bill Hutson presented and reviewed the following resolutions: (1) designating the official representative and alternate for the purpose of voting at the annual meeting of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) in 2018; (2) reappointing a representative for the villages to the Medina County Council of Governments (COG) on Drug Enforcement; and (3) appointing representatives and alternates to the OPWC District 9 Integrating Committee. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the three resolutions; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. There was no discussion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
Mr. Friedrick moved to go into an Executive Session after the Discussion Session consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of a public employee or official; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Geissman. There was no discussion. 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.
Entering Into Contract Negotiations
Sanitary Engineer Amy Lyon-Galvin stated that she had originally planned to present a resolution from the podium, but delaying it to this discussion session gave her an opportunity to better answer questions related to their continued interest in processing and recovery of recyclables. They had done a two-part process. The first part was that they asked for qualifications from companies interested in providing processing and a long-term transfer, transport, and disposal contract. There were six respondents (two were non-responsive). On October 24, the commissioners gave her permission to ask the four that were qualified to submit their Part 2 project proposal. Those were due November 20. Since that time, she has been conducting due diligence on those four proposals. The four received were from Kimble Companies, Rumpke of Ohio, Entsorga, and Envision Waste Services. The interviews were conducted on November 28 for each of the respondents, questions answered, and they provided their version of what they had been using. They also completed their own version of the recycling scorecard that was used to see what their impacts might be, both in terms of recycling and diversion because the goal is to ultimately minimize tonnage sent to the landfill. She conducted a site visit in December to Martinsburg, West Virginia where Entsorga has a facility under construction – the first of theirs in the United States. She also visited Rumpke and saw their single-stream MRF in Cincinnati and their glass recycling facility in Dayton. In January, she went to Valley City to see Kimble’s building that they purchased with plans to turn it into a transfer station (plays into their proposal response). She also visited Vadxx in Akron because they were a component of the Envision proposal for a plastics-to-fuel opportunity. The resolution summarizes all of this.
Sanitary Engineer Amy Lyon-Galvin presented and reviewed a resolution authorizing the sanitary engineer to enter into contract negotiations for processing and recovery of recyclables and transfer, transport, and disposal of municipal solid waste for the Medina County Solid Waste District.
Amy reviewed the resolution. She noted that they were able to assign scores. The first column identifies the points that were assigned in the resolution on October 24; those points were assigned through the qualifications review. Part two points were combined to give a total score. Where respondents submitted multiple proposals, she only scored the proposal that she felt offered the best value to the overall needs of the District. As a result of the evaluations, it’s her determination that the top two scorers (Rumpke of Ohio and Entsorga) presented proposals that, if combined, offer the greatest potential to maximize recovery of recyclables and meet the goal of reducing tonnage to the landfill in a cost-effective manner. The resolution goes on to say that she recommended that the commissioners accept the scores and ranking as identified and authorize her to begin to proceed with contract negotiations with the top two highest scorers. It further states that she will report back to the commissioners on February 20 how likely she feels that she’ll be able to be successful in negotiating contracts.
Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the resolution; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion.
Commissioner Hutson clarified that the commissioners’ role in relation to the Policy Committee is that the Solid Waste Policy Committee has established a plan and it allows for single-stream recycling under the plan. Commissioner Friedrick noted that there were two options – with or without mixed waste processing. Commissioner Hutson asked if the Policy Committee had seen any of the proposals or know generally, or if they had seen anything that’s come up since the bids were returned or were updated. Ms. Lyon-Galvin answered that they were aware that the four top qualified respondents were going to respond back. A Policy Committee meeting has been scheduled for February 8 and she will update them. She pointed out that the plan is written with the assistance of, and under the direction of, the Policy Committee (an advisory board) and includes two different budgets. It’s the sum of all parts plan that talks about the county-wide bin program as their means of demonstrating compliance with the state’s goals regarding access to recycling for the minimum 90% of the county’s population. The plan sets the framework for what they’re trying to accomplish. This is a complimentary service to help enhance what they’ve already been doing and increase recycling. They’re aware of the continued interest in mixed waste processing. Medina County is unique in that regard in the pursuit of processing and they’ve had a couple of reports done by GT Environmental and RRS that suggests that in our demographic area, there’s a lot of landfills with available capacity. It makes it difficult to come up with a cost-competitive solution to provide processing. She didn’t feel that the committee members would be surprised. The three commissioners, as the Board of Directors for the Solid Waste Management District, has the responsibility to enact the plan. Amy said that she has two strategies to follow within the plan; however, it was in the commissioners’ rights to authorize her to pursue a processing route. Today’s resolution is only to request permission to begin contract negotiations; if she can’t do that, she has very little to report down the road to the Policy Committee in terms of what this could look like.
Commissioner Geissman asked if Amy’s recommendation for one of the companies supplementing or adding to the program that is already in place with the bins and if the bins would be kept. Amy answered that it’s exactly that because the plan is written with the bins as their means of demonstrating access to recycling. Mrs. Geissman said that she receives a lot of complaints about the bins. Amy said that she’s heard that from those present. She would say that for every call received about the bins, she receives one or two calls from people wanting curbside recycling. There’s not, from what’s she learned over the four-year journey, a one-size-fits-all solution for waste processing or recycling. She noted that Montville Township instituted their own curbside program. After only six weeks into the program, they’re recycling 22% – that phenomenal. The way that the goals of the state are written into the plan, our district needs to encourage that; it doesn’t matter whose cost center it originates from. They want to maximize recycling from all participants at every level and minimize what goes to the landfill. This is a complimentary position to the bids that are successful.
Commissioner Friedrick said that to the point that Commissioner Geissman made, there are folks who will complain that there are things in the bins that are not supposed to be there. There are also people who will say that we’re crazy to try to pay for mixed waste processing, such as the gentleman who was present for the budget hearings who said not to waste money for mixed waste processing because it was an antiquated solution and one that he said people don’t want to pay for. There are folks who complain about the new contract in Montville Township where there’s a curbside program with one vendor. There are folks who are happy with it because they wanted curbside and they wanted to be involved. The point is – there are complaints and applause on virtually every aspect of waste processing. Again, that’s why 80 people signed up for public comment when they did the solid waste plan when the previous record that GT Environmental had involved only 4 people wishing to speak. The only point that he and Commissioner Geissman agree on is the mixed waste processing option because they agree that people in Medina County, for the most part, seem to want it. That’s what they commissioned Amy and Beth to do – pursue the mixed waste processing option – and they are the experts. They came forward with this proposal to combine what Rumpke had proposed and what Entsorga had proposed; what they’re doing in the resolution is to allow Amy to pursue that. What she’s pursuing is an analysis of what the county did before him (approximately 20 years ago) when they looked at a very out-of-the-box option in mixed waste process sorting with Norton at the time. This might not work out and may be something where there’s too many moving parts and the parties involved say that they’re not interested. Then they can move on from there. This resolution just gives Amy, the duty expert on this subject, the permission to pursue a contract and potentially an out-of-the-box, and maybe even state-of-the-art, option for Medina County. They, as the Board of Directors, approve that or don’t approve that.
To the question on a Solid Waste Policy Committee, things have worked backwards. The commissioners are the Board of Directors, but the standard is that the Solid Waste Policy Committee (and most other Solid Waste Districts) arrive at a recommendation and then the commissioners “buy into” what the Solid Waste Policy Committee comes up with. That hasn’t been done recently. The order of these things was done because things had been done out of order for a while. If they want to get the approval of the Solid Waste Policy Committee first, they can do that. There’s no voting by the Committee – it’s simply a yes or no.
Amy noted that she would be back on February 20 to update the commissioners on the likelihood of success. She would have already made it through the Solid Waste Policy Committee meeting and could report any comments (positive or negative) after having those conversations as well. Commissioner Friedrick said that in his opinion, they’re not being responsible as commissioners to the folks who have said that they want to have a mixed processing option or as the Board of Directors of the Solid Waste Policy Committee if they don’t move forward and let Amy pursue this (pursuing an option). Commissioner Hutson said that this resolution isn’t locking them into anything; it only authorizes Amy to begin discussions and explore to see if something can be developed and created in terms of the contract. Amy agreed.
Commissioner Hutson said that Amy had described the processes as complimentary; therefore, there are drop-off bins and other processing being proposed. At a very high level, he asked why they were complimentary. Amy answered that the Entsorga proposal is focused primarily on residential mixed waste. It is a waste-to-energy type of proposal and isn’t hinged on curbside or not. It can exist and be successful even with a full-blown curbside recycling program in the county. That’s important to know – that we would have longevity in the system that would have a biological project and a minimization of waste going to landfill that’s not contingent on other things that the county can’t control. The Rumpke proposal will, with Vexor as their partner, address mixed commercial waste, a sector of our community that they haven’t been able to reach. That would include people who are apartment dwellers or live in a condominium development with no access to a curb; they’re putting their material into a dumpster. The Vexor component of the Rumpke proposal is to produce an engineered fuel product. Vexor has a long-term agreement with a company in northeast Ohio for that material. One of the lessons learned is that it’s not just the process but it’s also if there’s a market for the material that will be produced; there’s an expectation that the percentages that are listed in the proposal can be met. Whether it’s a MOU or an Uptake Agreement, it factors into both proposals. One would exist in a random building addressing residential mixed waste and one that would primarily occupy the existing building that was just emptied of all of the equipment so it’s ready for its next life for the mixed commercial waste and the engineered fuel production. They’d optimize acreage in those two combined and they address, from her perspective, the sum of all parts. They have the subscription curbside, the bin program – those are working and growing in the community. For those who choose not to participate voluntarily, this will allow them to do “their part” in having that material processed (residential and mixed commercial waste).
Commissioner Friedrick added that the complimentary piece of it is that one of the four groups of folks that they looked to service/involve are the people who just wanted to be involved with recycling. If you tell them that whatever they put to the curb, 100% is going to be sorted and recycled, they say that’s not good enough because they want to be involved. Therefore, the bins not only meet our accessibility goal, but allows that individual (and there’s a lot of individuals) that want to take their recyclables somewhere. The drop-off bin program allows that group to be involved. At the 12-month point, we’re likely over 4,000 tons and that’s comparable to what they saw in the past.
Amy noted that if someone recognizes as well that the bin program that’s in the plan is in this ratified Solid Waste Management Plan and they go through a re-write cycle every five years. Depending on the success and whether this forecast changes, it’s something that could be edited in the next plan that they will begin writing in 2019. Whether it’s a key component of the next plan or not is too soon to tell. Right now, it’s working.
Commissioner Hutson said that if this resolution is passed today, it would keep Amy on schedule. Amy said that it would keep her on schedule to report back to the commissioners on February 20.
Commissioner Geissman said that she was concerned because she needed something in her hands to look at and needs to know how Amy came to the conclusion. She was concerned when the request for qualifications came in. Her main concern at that time was how a firm that had run the Central Processing Facility for 20 years was the lowest one of the group and they always exceeded their contract – that bothered her. Now, they are looking at the total points available and the highest points are for a company that has not got a very good…she’s not aware of their background at all and establishing something in the United States. She asked if they were brand new in this field. Amy said that they are new to the United States, but not this field. The model that’s working for them is that they have partnerships (they’re headquartered in Italy) with cement manufacturers that originated in Italy and they’re brokering on those relationships in the United States. It’s not a proposal absent an end user of the material that they’re producing. The fact that they stayed on target for seven years trying to go through all of the regulatory approval processes to get the Martinsburg, West Virginia facility under construction, is, to her, a commitment that they’re going to be a presence in the United States. They had some challenges and they stuck hard and true to it. Mrs. Geissman said that there’s no history in West Virginia that they have done everything that they said they would do.
Commissioner Hutson asked how many plants they have in Europe. Amy answered that it’s listed in the qualifications, but didn’t bring that information; she believed that they cited 14-15. Scott Miller said that they have Britain, Slovenia, and 5-10 or more that they (Amy and Scott) don’t know about. Commissioner Geissman said that she would be more comfortable if she could see how the Committee came to the conclusions as to the two that Amy would like to negotiate with. She’d like to have something to look at and study. She agreed with Adam’s comment that she certainly doesn’t have the knowledge that Amy and, perhaps, others on the committee have. But she needed to understand what she was voting on. Amy noted that she felt very confident in her recommendation. She felt very confident in the review of the qualifications in the proposals, they consulted with the team that assisted with the entire process that included RRS, and outside legal counsel with Eastman and Smith. She’s had conversations with the EPA and with peers in other solid waste districts. She said that she was happy to meet with Mrs. Geissman to share any additional information that she’d like to see. Amy again stated that was very confident in her recommendation.
After a period of silence, Commissioner Geissman said that she wasn’t comfortable voting that day without looking at the materials and that a resolution doesn’t tell her enough. Commissioner Friedrick asked if he should withdraw his motion; Commissioner Hutson answered no.
Commissioner Hutson stated that if the resolution was tabled for another week, it would put Amy a week behind in coming back to the commissioners. Amy answered that it would be likely. Commissioner Hutson asked if it would materially affect anything. Amy said not necessarily, but her last word of caution was that they had enacted, very thoughtfully in the process, a period of silence whereby all of the respondents, in respect to the process, weren’t having side conversations, lobbying, etc. They followed the very prescribed path. As long as everyone can recognize and will acknowledge that the period of silence is still in effect, she would be happy to answer any questions the commissioners have.
Commissioner Friedrick said that there was a motion on the floor that had been seconded. Mrs. Geissman said that she felt it was too important of a decision to make if they’re not absolutely sure that they’re doing the right thing. It’s been over three years now that they have been doing different things and allowing the county and different areas to get involved to where they don’t even have the whole county anymore to put a program together county-wide. It’s too important to rush into it; she knew that others would say that the commissioners weren’t rushing into it, but, for her, it is because she hasn’t seen anything. She’s asked a simple question – are the bins going to be continued. Why are we continuing the bins if we can have a program where we don’t have to have the bins? She stated that she needed more answers.
There was no further discussion. Roll call showed Messrs. Friedrick and Hutson voting AYE and Mrs. Geissman voting NAY. The motion passed.
It was noted that Mrs. Geissman should still meet with Amy so that she could understand and be given a comfort level that she presently didn’t have.
Commissioners’ Charity Ball
Commissioner Friedrick noted that it was a great Ball Saturday evening and congratulated Commissioner Geissman and Rhonda Beck. Mrs. Geissman agreed and said that it wouldn’t have been a great Ball if Rhonda hadn’t taken the lead. They were able to raise $33,000 – the highest ever raised. The charities were very appreciative.
Commissioner Hutson noted that the Facilities Taskforce was meeting at noon that day to continue discussions. An architect is on board.
Joint Meeting with Medina City
Mr. Hutson noted that the commissioners’ joint meeting with Medina City was scheduled for March 5, 2018, at 6:00 p.m.
At 10:26, the commissioners moved into the Commissioners’ Conference Room and went into the Executive Session that had been voted on earlier.
There being no further business, at 10:31 a.m., Mr. Friedrick moved to adjourn the meeting; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Geissman. There was no discussion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.