The Highland County Board of Commissioners announced approval for an increase to the rates for both the Rolling Acres and Lake Side sewers at its weekly Wednesday morning meeting.
Commissioner Dave Daniels said the Rolling Acres rate would go up 38 percent to $50 a month per user, with the Lake Side rate going up 20 percent to $48 per month per user. He said Rolling Acres has an unfunded liability cost of $139,160 and Lake Side has an unfunded capital improvement project of $157,950.
Daniels said these capital costs need to be paid over and above the general operating expenditures.
“While we, again, look at these increases that are substantial, I’m not gonna deny that, but nevertheless necessary for them to maintain their independence as we move forward and pay for themselves,” Daniels said.
Ashleigh Willey, a commissioner clerk, said the rate increase would be in the form of an assessment that will be placed on the 2022 tax list payable in 2023.
Daniels said the sewers are “relatively” small systems with around 36 users and 28 users, respectively.
In other sewer news, Daniels said that the Rocky Fork Lake sewer system will “probably” need to have its rates looked at sometime after the new year. He said the county started its monthly billing system that brought money into the system and also gave the county fewer delinquencies. He said that following one year of history on the new billing system, the commissioners would be able to make a better decision.
In other news, the commissioners approved a $30,000 contribution to help the Highland County Workforce Leadership Council’s ACCESS Program pay for the Transeo program.
At a board of commissioners meeting on Oct. 19, Tim Dettwiller, director of the Highland County Workforce Leadership Council’s ACCESS Program, said this one software product would help connect businesses, schools and community partners. He also said one of the key aspects was its work-based geo-tracking that would automatically track a worker coming and going from a work site.
“I think it’s important to point out that with the work that you’re doing with workforce development and what’s going on with, well, it’s got the opportunity to be a big boom for economic opportunity for citizens of Highland County coming up, with, I’m going to say, even though it’s a little further away, with Intel coming in and with Honda battery plant coming on up in Fayette County,” Daniels said. “There’s gonna be opportunities for a lot of Highland County residents to find employment there and if those are skills that they need, then we can do what we can to help them upgrade their skills and get those and participate in those economic opportunities and the better off we’re all gonna be.”
Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss attended the meeting to inform the commissioners that the recording system in the domestic relations court will become “basically defunct” at the end of the year and not be supported anymore. He said the court received a proposal for the court from JAVS, which also installed its main courtroom system.
Coss said there would be multiple things that could be purchased, with the recording decks being $4,210, the software being $3,788, an optional microphone for the Magistrate’s office being $522 and another optional purchase for an assisted listening system for an unstated cost, which would altogether cost a little over $10,000.
He stated that the people proposing the system talked like the system would be able to be installed by January.
Commissioner Jeff Duncan said the board “would guess” it would be able to come up with the money for it, but Daniels hoped that it could have a week to figure out where that money would come from.
In other news, Donnie Barrera, Highland County sheriff, attended the meeting to inform the commissioners that he found a new quote from LaPorte, Indiana for V6 vehicles. He said the new quote for $41,315 was around $4,000 cheaper than the quote he received a few weeks ago.
Barrera said the reason he continued looking at vehicles was that the previous places they looked at responded and said the vehicles they once had weren’t available anymore. He also said that even though the commissioners didn’t have a resolution, the purchase would still be able to be made next week should a resolution be made.
Barrera also said the washer and dryer at the Highland County Justice Center were having issues. He said the machines are 20 years old, with the main bearings going bad on both of them. He also said he got a couple of quotes from H-M Laundry that said it would be $1,039 to repair the machine temporarily, but also said it could still permanently go out at any time. Barrera also said the quote to completely replace the system would be $26,666.
Concerning the timetable, Barrera said he didn’t know when the new machine would be able to get to the justice center. Because of that, Daniels advised him to figure out the delivery schedule for the new one, with Duncan saying the timetable would help them decide whether to get the replacement or do the repair.
The commissioners approved an authorization to execute from SH Land Resources for a Gravity Sanitary Sewer Easement and also approved a promulgation statement from the Highland County EMA.
The board approved a letter of support for Pastor Bill Bowman of New Life Church and Ministry. Duncan said that the pastor had been doing “great work” in the county by giving food to people in need. However, he said the ministry cannot continue this work and was looking for another service organization to take the work over. He said the letter of support would help show the service industry that the work the ministry has been doing is beneficial.
In other news, there were six resolutions approved by the commissioners:
* Res. No. 22-184 is an agreement by the commissioners, city of Hillsboro and village of Greenfield to jointly adopt a single environmental review completed by the PY2022 CHIP administrator.
* Res. No. 22-185 is a request for a transfer from PA Grant to Public Assistance in the amount of $66,372 for TANF County Share for 2023.
* Res. No. 22-186 is an authorization for counsel to enter a joint stipulation and recommendation relative to the Palomino Solar, LLC project.
* Res. No. 22-187 is a declaration that a Kelvinator Refrigerator from probation was surplus property and was no longer needed by the county.
* Res. No. 22-188 is an authorization for a budget modification within the Children Services Fund from Reimbursement to Foster Care for $350,000.
* Res. No. 22-189 is an authorization for a budget modification within the Prosecutors DETAC budget from Other Expense to Salary in the amount of $5,000.
There were also six contracts approved by the board of commissionerss:
* Contract 89 is between the board of commissioners, DS2 Architects, LLC and Wilson Buildings for Change Order No. 1 for the new animal shelter.
* Contract 90 is between the board of commissioners, the Highland County Engineer and DGM Inc. for Change Order No. 1 for various structure replacements.
* Contract 91 is between the board and the Ohio Department of Development for a 2022 Community Development Grant Agreement.
* Contract 92 is between the board and Greystone Systems for a Standard alarm agreement for the Administration Building.
* Contract 93 is between the board and Greystone Systems for a standard alarm agreement for the Hi-TEC Center.
* Contract 94 is between the board and Greystone Systems for a standard alarm agreement for the courthouse.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.
Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera (right) speaks at Wednesday’s commissioners meeting while clerk Ashleigh Willey takes notes.
Rocky Fork Lake system also likely looking at rate increases