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 2, 2018 Commissioners’ meeting were emailed in advance. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the 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 the following resolutions: (1) authorizing thecounty engineer to proceed in certain instances by force account in the reconstruction, improvement, maintenance, and repair of roads, bridges and culverts; (2) authorizing the Medina County engineer to purchase one new model year cab and chassis with dump body and hydraulics, one new model year tractor with roadside mower, two new model year half-ton pickup trucks, and two new model year plows; (3) authorizing the president of the Board of County Commissioners to submit applications and execute contracts to the Ohio Public Works Commission for Issue 1 funding; (4) authorizing the Medina County commissioners to participate in the ODOT Cooperative Purchasing Program; (5) authorizing the Medina County engineer to advertise for bids for various sizes and quantities of aggregate for the 2018 construction season for use by the Medina County Highway Department; and (6) approving a Roadway Use and Maintenance Agreement between NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC and the Board of Medina County Commissioners. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the six resolutions; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. There was no discussion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
The permits of December 21-December 27, 2017 and December 28, 2017-January 3, 2018 were reviewed.
Finance Director Mike Pataky presented a resolutions approving an agreement for a mental health program at the Medina County Jail. Mr. Pataky requested payment of the weekly bills in the amount of $670,835.99. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the resolution; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. There was no discussion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE. Mr. Friedrick moved 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.
Office for Older Adults Director Laura Toth presented grant services year-to-date numbers. A utilization rate from 96%-150% for all grant services was achieved. Congregate meals were at 97% utilization; this is never fully utilized because of wasted meals (meals are ordered, but people do not attend). Wadsworth voucher numbers exceled; 3,322 meals were served. This was over the goal number, but they were able to pay for the overage with donations. Homedelivered meals had a 96% utilization rate of grant funds. Due to converting congregate meals over to the homedelivered program, they had an overage of home-delivered meal grant units and utilized all units calculated for 113 meals a day. The original allocation was for 106 meals a day, so by converting units, they were able to bill more home-delivered meals to grant funds. The goal for 2018 will be to utilize 100% of grant funding for home-delivered meals. The local community meals came in under an estimate of $50,000. An additional 10,428 home-delivered meals were served for a total of $46,822. There were 283 transportation rides over the 8,780 grant allotment; they should have funding to cover this overage as well.
Ms. Toth continued with the outreach report. The outreach services social workers made 1,086 contacts with clients throughout the county in the form of home visits or phone contacts. That is up 38 contacts from 2016. They reached all municipalities, villages and townships in the county during the past year. The most dramatic changes were in the cities of Brunswick and Medina; Brunswick had an increase of 53 contacts and Medina increased 14 contacts. Due to the building of senior housing complexes and the services that seniors request who are, or will be, living in those complexes, there will likely be an increase in contacts over the next few years. Outlying townships and rural areas remained relatively consistent, gaining or losing a few contacts or remaining even with 2016 numbers.
Ms. Toth reported that she attended the Medina City Council meeting the previous evening. They voted to approve funding for the Office for Older Adults. They are contributing $20,000 in 2018 toward services for Medina City residents. On Friday, OOA is hosting their second largest annual event, the Brunswick Senior Expo, which will take place at the Brunswick Recreation Center from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. As part of the Expo, there will be a bakeoff by vendors. They expect 60 vendors and 400 seniors to attend.
Commissioner Hutson presented and reviewed a resolution appointing a member to the Medina County Advisory Council on Aging. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the resolution; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. There was no discussion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
Commissioner Hutson presented and reviewed a resolution appointing a representative and alternate representative for the City of Brunswick to the Medina County Planning Commission. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the resolution; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. There was no discussion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
Commissioner Hutson presented and reviewed a resolution commending John P. Cleary for his 20 years of service with Medina County. Mr. Friedrick moved to approve the resolution; Mrs. Geissman seconded the motion. There was no discussion. Roll call showed all commissioners voting AYE.
There were two people who wished to make public comment. They were reminded of the five minute time limit.
Alexander Athens, 978 Cloverdale Avenue, Medina asked if there was any information on which companies or contractors in Medina County would be involved in the pipeline. Commissioner Hutson reminded that this portion of the meeting was an opportunity for public comment, but not an opportunity to query the Board. Mr. Athens said that he understood that this was supposedly going to create a lot of jobs; however, in the pipeline industry there is only a small handful of contractors in the country that do that work. His concern is because of the heavy loads (the pipes are usually 40´ long and have extra thick walls) and other heavy equipment, he asked if anyone in Medina County would monitor the road conditions, on-site safety conditions, and monitor the pipeline welders to ensure that they’re certified by the State of Ohio. His other concern is that since this is a prevailing wage project, for benefit of tax purposes for Medina County, he asked if anyone would verify the payroll. So far, he hadn’t seen any information about his questions. He cautioned about permitting contractors to come into the county and do what they want. The work will only benefit fast food, beverage drive thrus, and hotels. He noted that he was a retired pipefitter and knew how it worked. He didn’t see any reports where Medina County is doing anything to protect this dangerous project; he wasn’t saying it was a bad project.
Pauline Chapman, 7238 Wooster Pike, Seville stated that when she attended the meeting a few weeks ago, Sam Rubens of the Akron Regional Air Quality Management District spoke at the meeting and said that they only do ozone survey, but don’t perform health or particulate matter surveys. Studies by Medical News Today showed that air pollution and particulate matter at 2.5 micrometers may contribute to dementia, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and weaken bones. Communities near compressor stations have reported a humming noise that is maddening and an obnoxious smell in the air. These can cause eye irritations, rashes, headaches, sort throats, nose bleeds, dizziness, nausea – the list goes on. Some of the toxins are benzene, toluene, sulfuric acid, formaldehyde, radon, and methane. The blowdowns from the compressor stations can last for two hours and usually happen in the middle of the night; sounds can equal four diesel locomotive engines running 24/7.
Ms. Chapman continued that she’d lived in Medina County, paid taxes for 40 years, and voted for candidates that campaigned on the premise that they were going to look out for her behalf. She was now asking that from the $350,000 that the county received for easements, that they contribute to their fund to have air monitoring and testing. Donations could be sent to Sustainable Medina County-Monitoring, P. O. Box 1033, Wadsworth 44282. She requested an accounting for how the $350,000 would be spent. She concluded by saying that she wouldn’t trade her health for $350,000.
Commissioner Friedrick noted that he had information (provided to the two reporters at the meeting and each commissioner). It was an article about a lawsuit that’s been filed in Pennsylvania. It was filed against the folks behind the community and environmental legal defense fund and the frivolousness of how they’ve presented some of the findings. One of the townships enacted some of their initiatives and are now being sued by the energy industry. He felt it was pertinent given the things that they hear regarding county charter petitions and so forth. This shows that there’s legal action being taken, specifically against Mr. Lindsay who is behind most of this. Commissioner Friedrick moved to go into Executive Session following the Discussion Session to consider the purchase of property for public purposes; the motion was seconded by Commissioner 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 9:52 a.m.
At 9:53 a.m., the Commissioners began the Discussion Session in the Commissioners’ Conference Room.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Rick Pethtel, representing the Chapter 385 of the Vietnam Veterans of America, provided additional information about the renovation of the monument. Since he last attended the meeting, he wrote and submitted the proposal. He spoke with Steve Hambley, Bill Batchelder and Senator Obhof several times and they indicated that there shouldn’t be any problem. He expressed appreciation for the Commissioners’ letter of support. He showed drawings of two proposals; he and the Commissioners were in agreement about one of the concepts. The cost of the project will likely cost $100,000-125,000. Donations can be sent to the Medina County Veterans Memorial Fund, 620 N. Broadway, Medina, attention Rick; the organization is a 501(c)3.
Scott Miller reminded that the first public hearing regarding the sales tax would be held that evening at 7:00 p.m.
Levy for Bicycle Lanes
Mr. Miller reminded that a couple of weeks ago, Tim Smith and Beth Schnabel (on behalf of the Bicycle Committee) asked about a levy. After contacting the Prosecutor’s Office, a levy can’t be used for that purpose. It can be incorporated into a road tax or different monies from another levy can be used. He has informed Mr. Smith.
House Bill 371
Commissioner Geissman that she received correspondence and a phone call from CCAO Executive Director Suzanne Delaney. The CCAO Board has had discussions regarding HB371. The Bill would exempt from property taxation any increased value of lands subdivided for residential development until residential construction commences on the land or the land is sold. The Bill provides that the construction of streets, sidewalks, curbs, or driveways or the installation of utility lines on the subdivided parcel not be considered to be residential construction for the purpose of valuation. The CCAO is strongly opposed to this bill because it undermines the ability of local government to target residential development to areas where it’s needed most and removes local control over property tax revenue. Steve Hambley is on the committee that is meeting that day again to consider any comments. If the Commissioners agree with the CCAO to oppose the bill, Ms. Delaney would like President Bill Hutson to contact Steve Hambley. The CCAO had provided talking points.
Commissioner Hutson clarified that the concept of the bill is if a developer purchases farmland acreage and desires to turn it into a residential development, the developer pays a certain amount of money per acre; therefore, the value should increase. As they add improvements, the value of the land increases. However, they wouldn’t be taxed on the value of the land as it’s improved.
Commissioner Friedrick noted that he wasn’t in opposition of the bill; he was against the CCAO recommendation. A developer purchases something and puts investment into the land and then he put investments into roads, utilities, etc. The developer’s not recognized anything from that investment until land parcels are sold. When there was an economic downturn in 2009 where there were developers who had put all of their money into properties to be ready to sell, the taxes went up as well, and they had nothing to recognize income for those increased taxes. Eventually, when properties are sold, they’ll have income. Tax revenues will suffer during the time the property is developed and no one can purchase anything; it’s the lesser of two evils as opposed to taxing somebody on something. It incentivizes the development if you don’t have to pay taxes until parcels are sold.
Commissioner Geissman stated that opinions such as Commissioner Friedrick’s were expressed at the CCAO Board meeting. Commissioner Hutson said that when a developer purchases a piece of raw land and builds a 100,000 square foot building on it, the developer isn’t recognizing revenue until parcels are sold. Commissioner Friedrick said that his “line in the sand” is that when a developer puts in roads and utilities, the developer doesn’t have anything for their investment until a lot is sold. Therefore, why should the developer be taxed and penalized for investing and trying to make the property able to be developed by being taxed at a higher rate. Commissioner Geissman stated that the property value increased; Commissioner Friedrick agreed. Commissioner Hutson asked, then, why wouldn’t it be taxed at a uniform rate from day one. Why wouldn’t the property owner be taxed? Commissioner Friedrick answered that the bill is basically to put a freeze on the increased value until some other “line in the sand” exists; currently, there’s no other “line in the sand”. It discourages investment, especially since things are moving much more quickly now. When times are tight and a developer is making a decision and he’s given the incentive of not having to pay increased taxes sooner, he thought that was a good thing. Commissioner Geissman said that opposing the bill would allow local control over their revenues compared to no increase as Commissioner Friedrick said (no increase until the parcel is sold).
Commissioner Geissman noted that there are several legislators on the committee; Steve Hambley is our local one. The CCAO Board is asking us, since the CCAO Board voted to oppose, that members oppose it so they can keep control of local revenues. Commissioner Friedrick said that he didn’t know where Steve Hambley stood on the House Bill. Commissioner Hutson requested more time to consider and understand the bill and the material. Commissioner Friedrick stated that the CCAO opposes it because it decreases a primary revenue stream at the county level. Commissioner Geissman agreed.
Commissioner Hutson reported that a letter was received from Judge Kevin Dunn regarding the mileage rate. Commissioner Hutson asked if it was something that the Commissioners were willing to discuss; in his opinion, he felt it should be reconsidered because if that’s the cost for someone to operate their vehicle, then the County should be paying what the actual costs are since they’re using their vehicle for county business. The Federal mileage rate is 54.5¢ a mile for 2018. The County has historically used 8.5¢ less than the IRS rate.
County Administrator Scott Miller said that previously, they used the National Statistics regarding the average costs of operating a vehicle. After calculating what the average mileage was for the county, it was usually lower than what the IRS rate was. One of the county unions wanted to increase the mileage rate; the compromise was to increase it to 8.5¢ less than what the Federal rate was. That rate was higher than what was calculated, but less than the IRS rate. Rather than having two different rates (one for that specific union and one for everyone else), they adopted the 8.5¢ less for everyone. It saves the County money, but didn’t know how much but thought it would be five figures. If the reimbursement were changed, it would likely be a negotiation point for the next union contract.
Commissioner Geissman said that when she drives her vehicle to Columbus and is compensated, it more than covers her gasoline costs. However, she never figured tires, oil, insurance, etc. It’s been fine with her to be reimbursed the lower amount. Commissioner Hutson answered that from a business standpoint, all of the costs of the vehicle operation should be considered. Every mile that is put on a personal vehicle, depreciates the vehicle’s value. There is also wear and tear, oil, maintenance, gasoline, etc. For the first several years, the largest cost is the depreciation of the vehicle; the second largest cost is typically interest and the cost of operation.
Commissioner Hutson asked Mr. Miller if the rationale for taking the Federal rate (which is national) and saying specifically what it is for Medina County, if Medina County costs were less. Mr. Miller said that it was more a state/region figure, rather than for a county. It’s cheaper to operate a vehicle in Ohio than it is in California. Commissioner Hutson asked that this be reexamined. While he’s not interested in spending more money, they need to be fair with employees. If they’re using their personal vehicle for county business, they should be compensated fairly.
Commissioner Friedrick said that Mr. Miller was saying that the calculation was made and then the 8.5¢ was above the calculation; that took into consideration the mileage, gas, etc. Mr. Miller agreed. The last time it was done was in 2007 and 2008. Commissioner Hutson requested that Mr. Miller make a better calculation of how the figure would compare to the national figure and how much more or less should be reimbursed.
At 10:15 a.m., the Commissioners went into the Executive Session that had been voted on earlier.
There being no further business, at 11:04 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.
RESOLUTIONS PASSED JANUARY 9, 2018
18-0013 – Commending John P. Cleary for his 20 years of service with Medina County
18-0014 Allowing claims and authorizing issuance upon the treasurer in settlement of such list of claims
18-0015 Authorizing the county engineer to proceed in certain instances by force account in the reconstruction, improvement, maintenance, and repair of roads, bridges and culverts
18-0016 Authorizing the county engineer to purchase one new model year cab and chassis with dump body and hydraulics, one new model year tractor with roadside mower, two new model year half-ton pickup trucks, and two new model year plows
18-0017 Authorizing the President of the Board of County Commissioners to submit applications and execute contracts to the Ohio Public Works Commission for Issue 1 funding
18-0018 Authorizing the Medina County commissioners to participate in the ODOT Cooperative Purchasing Program
18-0019 Authorizing the Medina County engineer to advertise for bids for various sizes and quantities of aggregate for the 2018 construction season for use by the Medina County Highway Department
18-0020 Approving a Roadway Use and Maintenance Agreement between NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC and the Board of Medina County Commissioners
18-0021 Approving an agreement for a mental health program at the Medina County Jail
18-0022 Approving personnel changes for the employees under the jurisdiction of the Medina County commissioners
18-0023 Appointing a member to the Medina County Advisory Council on Aging
18-0024 Appointing a representative and alternate representative for the City of Brunswick to the Medina County Planning Commission
All deliberations concerning official business and formal actions by this Board of Commissioners were conducted in an open public meeting this ninth day of January 2018.