Williams County Judge Stelzer Informs Williams County Commissioners Of High Number Of Indictments In 2021

As the Monday morning, October 11, 2021 session of the Williams County Commissioners was not held due to that being a federal holiday for Columbus Day, the Commissioners had a full morning on Thursday, October 14, 2021.

Sessions were held for the regular business, to meet with Cody Frey concerning a land transfer, and to meet with Judge J.T. Stelzer for a Budget Hearing.

An Executive Session was also held to consider compensation of a public employee. They began their morning at 9 a.m. and were able to wrap it all up by a few minutes after 11 a.m.

The morning began with the passage of some resolutions and the signing of some other documents. Approved were:

-Supplemental Appropriations, Minutes for October 7, 2021 and payment of Bills

-Resolution 335 Reaffirming the Appointments of Brian Wieland and Jason Rockey (at-large members of the community) to the Williams County Transportation Improvement District Board of Trustees. Per ORC this will be renewed every two years as directed. (There was a lengthy discussion about this, with the following points made:

-If it does not go well, it would come back to the Commissioners to determine what to do.

-WC Comm. are signing an MOU between Williams County and Henry County Transportation.

-Probably JFS and the Senior Center/Dept. of Aging, possibly MRDD, will be the ones using it the most.

-Each entity can “bow out of it at any time”

-This board is not active yet, but Commissioner Terry Rummel is going to work on getting it back up and running.

-No Commissioners are allowed to be on the Board, by statute.

-So Resolution 335 was rescinded as it was stated, reworded, and brought back later in the day for approval.

-Resolution 336 Rescind Resolution 21-0179 due to a change in the agreement with EMA and Hyper Reach

-Resolution 337 New agreement between Williams County EMA and Hyper-Reach for Mass Notification System for one year

-Resolution 338 Entering into a Two-Year Snow Removal Agreement with Farrell’s for East Annex

-Resolution 339 Entering into a Two Year Snow Removal Agreement with Clark’s for Title Office

-Resolution 340 (also went through some re-wording and was brought back later for approval). Agreement between Williams County Commissioners and Garmann/Miller & Associates for Architectural Agreement for replacement of 169 Courthouse windows replaced, and restoring six windows.

Agreement not to exceed $75,000 and that is coming from the ARPA funds. They are expecting a term completion date of September of 2022.

-Also Signed: Letter for WC Department of Aging regarding being a Public Entity; Dog Warden report for week of October 4-10, 2021; Courthouse Permit for Bryan Development Foundation to place vinyl advertising banner on Courthouse lawn for ChristKindl Market; CHIP Mortgage Release for James Miller; Request for Vacation Carryover from JFS; Letters for State Auditor for Annual Audit; Credit Card Appropriations for treasurer’s office for November 2021. ARPA Funds request from Victim’s Assistance and Maintenance Department.

At 10:30 the commissioners met with Cody Frey from the Williams County Engineer’s Office concerning a land transfer in Kunkle, Ohio.

The land is a part of all the work that was done in Kunkle for the new sewer system that is almost complete there. It is a quarter of an acre that Frey was recommending the Commissioners approve for transfer with the resident (Neil Grant) who sold them the land for part of the lagoons.

Frey explained that as the construction proceeded, Grant realized that it was cutting off his drive to some of his property. He requested that they work it out for him to still have an entrance to his property, giving him access.

Frey said, “So, what we came up with is basically to transfer a quarter acre. We would take a quarter acre from him and give him a quarter acre. Basically just doing a land swap to get him his access driveway back to his property.”

Frey explained that it does not affect anything as far as the construction goes, and if approved they would hire an attorney to write up the deed.

Commissioner Terry Rummel said, “They were good enough to sell the property to us,” the commissioners all agreed that they want to be “good partners to work with in the Community,” and that this would be fine. It was also agreed that Frey should get the legal work done and bring it back so they can authorize it with a resolution.

Frey also gave a report on the rest of the Kunkle Waste Distribution System, informing the Commissioners that it is going well. The lagoons are complete and are in operation. The collection system is in process as the contractor is currently working on hooking up the houses, and only has twelve to go.

“The system is probably 90% completed at this point in time and it looks like the project should be wrapped up in about a month,” Frey said.

When asked about the pavement being done, Frey said that Angola and Pleasant are done and that Gerken will be back in a few weeks to finish the rest of the paving, which does include curbs.

Slightly before 11 a.m., WC Auditor Vickie Grimm and Judge J.T. Stelzer joined the commissioners. Judge Stelzer was there “to provide you with an update on where we are and why we are presenting the budget that we are.”

He commended the commissioners for approving a new hire for Prosecutor Katie Zartman as it “is well deserved and needed. They are a busy office.”

Stelzer continued that it has been the busiest year that he has seen in the past ten or eleven years, with the highest number of indictments. He is expecting that Williams County will be close to 270-300 indictments this year, “which is big.”

He also stated that “most of those indictments, maybe 70-80% of them are drug related, directly or indirectly, and I think that is kind of consistent with the PACT (Protecting All Children Task-Force)meeting we had this morning. It is a fact of life that we all have to deal with.”

Concerning the Common Pleas Court Budget, some slight changes are coming up. They included a 3% salary increase, across the board, with a recommendation of a 6% increase for Amy Thompson, whom the judge said has taken on some additional responsibilities.

She works for the Probation Department primarily in an administrative capacity, and as she takes on the new responsibilities from the court, it has allowed them not to “have to hire another full-time officer.”

In the Adult Probation, he reported, he has received letters of resignation from Maddie Korak and from Alex Veleba, both who have done a great job and are moving on to other job opportunities. Judge Stelzer said they are in the interview process for two new hires to replace them.

“Consistent with the numbers that I just outlined in terms of indictments and how busy the Prosecutor’s Office is, it flows down to the Probation Department being very busy as well,” he said.

There are currently approximately 280 individuals that are on supervision, community control, or probation with the probation officers.

They are continuing to “take advantage of all potential grants that are out there. Lori Bolton has done a great job on writing grants for the probation dept. and the court.”

“As you know, we have a JRIG grant, a probation department grant, and a TCAP grant….We also have written grants for Common Pleas Court and updates to make sure that we are staying current in our electronics in the courtroom. Kim Coller (Court Administrator) has done that.”

He also thanked the commissioners for their help “in terms of electronic monitoring in our efforts to keep the numbers down at CCNO.”

He reported that the number of indictments is directly related to the daily challenge for the beds being used at CCNO, and said that he checks that every day.

“When we can and when we think it is appropriate and safe for society, we do release the people on electronic monitoring, when we can,” he said, adding, “But we do watch it daily and will continue to do so to try to avoid any excess expense to the county.”

While looking at the Budget, Commissioner Lew Hilkert asked about a $5000 line for “possible part time help.”

Judge Stelzer replied that they need to hire someone to help cover the entrance to the Courthouse as “if one of the two individuals who do that job, is absent for a week, it means the remaining constable is there full time with no ability to leave for any reason.”

He shared that they do have a volunteer who works for them sometimes for a few hours and that helps tremendously, but they are having trouble finding someone who is available for hours as needed.

“People want to know precisely what their days are going to be and I understand that,” he said, “so we have not been able to fill that position.” He added that Rex Lawrence (Courthouse Constable) “is doing a nice job at this point, shuffling schedules to make sure the front door is covered.”

Commissioner Lew Hilkert stated that the commissioners have “had discussion the Auditor in regards to raises. What we intend to do this year is to have ALL departments do what you did here and put that 3% in the budget.”

Any other raises during the year would need to be approved by a separate request so that it does not get confusing. “We are trying to change that this year so that everyone is on the same playing field,” he added.

Commissioner Rummel brought up the topic of possibly transferring the 15 passenger vehicle that the Judge uses once every four months and that the MRDD uses one month each year, to be used for the WC Transportation/Henry County Transportation plan.

He asked if that would be fine with the judge, who said yes, and Rummel said he will work on getting an MOU that guarantees that the van would be available, with a week’s notice, to transport Grand Jury members to CCNO for their tour. He stated that it makes sense to keep it maintained for more than just a couple runs a year.

Grimm said she did not have any comments or questions so the commissioners thanked them both for coming and with no further agenda for the day, the session was adjourned.


 


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