RACINE, Ohio – The Meigs County Commissioners held their weekly meeting this week while also educating Southern High School students about local government.
Southern High School history teacher Jordan Pickens asked the commissioners if they would hold a meeting at the school for the students. Meigs County Commissioners Mike Bartrum, Randy Smith and Tim Ihle liked the idea which led to today’s meeting at Southern. All three were in attendance as well.
The student body and high school faculty attended the meeting. Prior to the meeting beginning and at various points during the meeting, the commissioners explained the procedures they must follow and local government structures.
The meeting began at 10:30 a.m. with the usual innovation and Pledge of Allegiance. The commissioners approved last week’s minutes, paid bills, passed resolutions and a proclamation. Approved were paying bills in the amount of $51,430.07. Now and Thens approved for the Highway Department to Rhino Energy in the amount of $5,128.23. Appropriation adjustments were made for the veterans for Memorial Day Expenses regarding supplies and travel in three separate items in the amounts of $892, $200, and $800.
Meigs County Jobs and Family Services Director Chris Shank had five resolutions for the commissioners approval. All five passed unanimously. One involved the Prevention, Retention and Contingency Supportive Services to families committee. The second resolution was a request giving authority to two certain positions allowing them to sign documents in the case of the directors absence in case of being out of the area on agency business or illness. Director Shank stated that the resolution did not interfere with the commissioners authority to appoint an interim director. The third resolution he presented involved a contract with the Children Center of Ohio for foster care services. The fourth resolution amended a contract for an outside attorney due to a conflict of interest. The fifth was a contract for mentoring youth ages 5-17 that are TANF eligible in Meigs County by Athens Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Sheriff Keith O. Wood addressed the commissioners and the students concerning the proposed new 71 bed jail and offices that will be on the Nov. 2, 2017 ballot. Sheriff Wood updated the commissioners on the public meetings about the bond issue, stating he had held 11 meetings including being at the Meigs County Fair. The sheriff said the county currently houses prisoners in 10 different counties. The proclamation passed unanimously by the commissioners states the intention of the commissioners and the sheriff is to remove part of the millage once the building is paid for and to pay the building off as quickly as possible. The commissioners stated it would be in the historical documents, in the journals of the commissioners which the people of Meigs County could use to remind future commissioners of the original intention of reducing the millage as soon as possible.
Ohio Department of Transportation District 10 Deputy Director Darla Miller also attending the meeting and introduced herself to the commissioners and reassured them the departments partnership with local government would continue without change. John Burnett, county manager for ODOT, also updated commissioners on projects. He said 4,000 tons of asphalt have been laid in Meigs County. He said it used to be more along the lines of 1,000 tons for paving.
The county commissioners confirmed their RSVP to attend the Regional Council meeting at Buckeye Hills on Oct. 6, 2017.
The commissioners noted Inclusions would be holding an open house Sept. 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in their new location at the corner of Williams Street and S. Fourth Street in Middleport.
The commissioners recognized the Southern golf team for winning the Tri-Valley Conference title. Recognized were Jonah Hoback, Ryan Acree, Jensen Anderson, Landen Hill, Joey Weaver, and Jarrett Hupp along with their coach Jeff Caldwell (who was not present). The members of the team stood and were recognized for their efforts. Commissioner Ihle noted that he was a Southern grad and had been on the first golf team with coach Bob Oliver in 1971. He commented on the current team’s efforts and congratulated them for taking the TVC title.
Meigs County Prosecutor James K. Stanley also addressed the students and explained what he does. He explained that in addition to prosecuting cases, he serves as the attorney for the county and represents the commissioners. He also talked about the Sunshine Laws and the procedures for executive session.
The meeting adjourned at 11:28 p.m. Following the meeting, the commissioners answered questions from the students and staff. Commissioner Smith urged the students to be involved in all levels of government. “You are what holds elected officials accountable,” he said.
The commissioners also talked about their meeting in Washington, D.C. recently as well as answering questions about the budget. The annual budget for the county is $5.2 million.
Commissioner Bartrum concluded with commenting on the behavior of the students. He said they had been respectful and quiet throughout. He advised students to “surround yourself with good people” and that they can control how they act. He urged them that with the right attitude and effort they could accomplish their goals.
Commissioner Smith also thanked the students for their attention. All three commissioners expressed that they hoped this would be contagious and they could hold meetings at the other high schools in the county.