NEW HANGER? … Whether or not the Williams County Airport is going to get a new large hanger that will hold a couple small jet airplanes, was discussed again on October 4 and 7 at the Williams County Commissioner meetings. Mr. Brent Wilson from the Airport Authority brought figures and recommendations to the commissioners, (l to r) Lew Hilkert, Terry Rummel and Brian Davis, with Clerk Anne Retcher. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
Before meeting with Brent Wilson in the Thursday, October 7, 2021 meeting, to hear more information on the possible new airport hanger, the Williams County Commissioners approved the following:
-Resolution 331 Authorizing Incentives for the United Way Campaign 2022
-Resolution 332 Entering into a Maintenance Agreement between Clerk of Courts and Perry ProTech for a Ricoh IM C4500 Copier
-Resolution 333 Final Hearing for County Ditch #730 Petitioned by John Coolman for November 8, 2021 at 10 a.m.
-Minutes for October 4, 2021 and payment of bills
They also signed a large number of items including the Dog Warden Report for week of 9/27-10/3/21; Treasurer’s Monthly Investment Report as of 9/30/21; Auditor’s Financial Analysis Reports for month ended September 2021; Letter to Election officials, Department Heads and Employees regarding Health Insurance Costs and Insurance enrollment with CEBCO; Letter from Kyle Brigle, WC EMS Chief regarding the hiring of full time EMT, Austin Thomas, with a start date of October 11, 2021; Monthly expenditures for Credit Cards from Prosecutor’s office for October; Year end order from Maintenance that needed to be approved since it is over a certain amount; and Treasurer’s Financial Statement for September.
Clerk Anne Retcher also addressed a couple topics with the Commissioners. The first was concerning applications to be filled out in regards to the ARPA Funds.
She said that she sent out those applications and Sarah’s Friends has already returned theirs. She wanted to know if the commissioners wanted a deadline for the rest of them, as she has been telling applicants to just get them back as soon as possible. Mr. Hilkert said that was fine and to send one to B. Crisenberry as well.
Lastly, Retcher thanked the commissioners for allowing her to put out a poll on FaceBook concerning whether the minutes should be recorded or transcribed.
She stated, “I found it very interesting and insightful seeing the comments that did come in. When we first started talking about the changes the way the minutes were going to be handled, I was apprehensive on no longer transcribing the minutes due to the fact that we can do key-word searches.”
“However, I was under the impression that those who were interested in the minutes, peered to listen and not read them, so, after reviewing the comments and results it made me realize that even though it is very tedious and boring to listen to the meetings a second time as we transcribe them, it is nice to know that they are actually being read. When we started transcribing the minutes in 2017, it was for the purpose of transparency.”
“Robin (Kemp) and I took a lot of pride in being one of the very few counties in the State of Ohio who record their meetings and transcribe them word for word. I was shocked when I realized that many counties only write a brief summary or recap of their meetings for their minutes.”
“So…if it is ok with the Board, at the first of the year, I would like to continue to transcribe the meetings and I will work with Jeremy on how to post the recordings to our website as well. So they will have both options available to them.” Commissioner Brian Davis added, “And they are always welcome to come and join us in person.”
Brent Wilson joined the commissioners in person at 9:30 to “discuss the pricing on the bid opening summary for the possibility of a hanger at the airport.”
Mr. Wilson picked up where they left off on Monday, October 4, 2021, sharing that he had met with Strebig Construction and with Thiel Construction about the $210,000 difference in bids. “The reason is that the building is basically the same square footage, just a little different layout but similar,” he said.
“Everything was the same. The reason was… Strebig quoted 8 inch roof installation, 6 inch wall, so Thiel is going to give us the difference because in this area they quoted it based on what the specs were on the bid package. In this region, 8 and 6 are required.” There was also a small difference on the door as well.
Wilson recommended that the Commissioners go with Thiel Construction as he feels they are going to be the cheapest. There was further discussion about some of the details such as the concrete approach, whether to have hot water in the floor, and some other design items, but Wilson said he will get those numbers to the Commissioners by Monday, October 11, 2021.
Based on a few other changes for Thiel, he believes it will probably go up to 80 to 90 thousand, still keeping it under $100,000. “Thiel is willing to work with us to even cut more costs if there is a way to do so, and if we need to make some changes to help the county stay under the 2 million dollars,” he added.
The commissioners looked at the numbers he had brought which they had requested at the last meeting.
They also discussed again where the money will come from, with State Capital Funding appearing to be the number one source, and how long it would be before construction could even begin on the hanger.
Commissioner Hilkert seemed to be leaning toward funding it, saying, “We need to consider making a commitment. Do we take it out of the general fund? Do we borrow the money for a short period of time until such time that this other funds are available?” and “We need to have the funding available, meaning either we are going to fund it and then if it is approved by the Capital State funding, we get reimbursed for a portion of what we fund out of our unappropriated monies.”
Commissioners Terry Rummel and Brian Davis seemed to lean more toward only approving the project after the funding is all cleared. Wilson and Hilkert both said that if they do that it is going to cost even more than the $2 million.
They all agreed that they do want to apply for funding, and hope that the other possibilities as well come in (the possible new jet donation being one of those). Davis said that if they can secure another $500,000 through the State Capital, and get the donation, they could take the balance and “actually borrow against it and you could cash flow it based on projected revenues.”
The concern about waiting until February or March was big, as Wilson pointed out, “The bids are only good until October 23, 2021, because NUCOR and American told contractors there WILL be a steel increase on October 24th.”
He added, “If they place the order, they don’t have to pay for it right away, but placing it would lock in the price of the steel.” Hilkert added that his opinion is that they need to review this with the Auditor and “let her know the different funding sources that potentially we could look at to make a final decision no later than Monday the 18th.”
Rummel clarified that he is not in favor of going forward with this project without knowing that they absolutely have the funding. “I understand that there is a 23rd deadline, but I also understand that it is a ton of money.”
His thoughts went on that they must secure the funding, even though it might cost more in the future. He mentioned getting some input from Representative Jim Hoops. Davis pointed out that even if they approve it, the steel is not going to come for at least nine months which means they could not start construction until June or July of 2022.
It was agreed that they were not ready to make a decision and that another date would need to be scheduled to reconvene and discuss it more. Ms. Retcher was asked to schedule a time for Mr. Wilson to meet with them again, along with the Auditor.
The final session of the day was held with WC Prosecutor, Katie Zartman, to discuss the 2022 budget. Zartman said that the prosecutor’s office submitted their salary worksheets recently, and she had included in there the hope for a new attorney.
She stated that the department case load is overwhelmed on the civil side and she feels it is necessary to seek additional attorney services. She said they will not be replacing the full time legal assistant, she has some savings and it would be with no health benefits, so she thinks the budget should cover it.
She expressed her hope that she could hire someone immediately, and said that she is quite certain that she would not need to increase the 2021 budget.
Not including health care benefits, the 2022 budget increase is estimated at $60,000 inclusive of PERS, Medicare, Worker’s Comp and salary. There will be no possible raises for the entire staff, she said, at least not right away.
It was determined that in a previous Executive Session the commissioners had given her the green light to start looking for a new attorney, so they reiterated to Zartman that she can start looking to hire an additional person.
Zartman also brought up the information that Job and Family Services has funding available for this purpose. Following a discussion on where the money should come from, either JFS or the general fund, or ARPS money, it was agreed that they will determine the answer to that later, but that she should go ahead and find a new attorney for the team.
With no further business that day, the sessions adjourned at 10:48 a.m.
Rebecca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org