Commissioners reflect on year

By Wayne Allen

December 29, 2013

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

Recently the Scioto County Commissioners took time to reflect on 2013 and the accomplishments that came throughout the year.

“We’ve managed to get some things done and get closer to being released from fiscal emergency status,” said Mike Crabtree, Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners. “There is always something else you would like to do and we’re just trying to do what we can with the resources we have.”

Crabtree said one of the accomplishments made in 2013 was the removal of the former Scioto County Jail remains from the fourth floor of the Scioto County Courthouse.

In October crews with Southern Ohio Salvage and Contracting, Inc. finished the scrap metal removal project from the courthouse. According to Scioto County officials, a total of 320,000 pounds of steel were removed opening up an additional 12,000 square feet in the courthouse.

The commissioners had signed the original agreement with Southern Ohio Salvage and Contacting, Inc. in June.

At the time, Crabtree was quoted as saying, “This is going to be done at no cost to the county. They will take the bars down, cut them in small pieces so they can be moved from the fourth floor to ground level, then placed in a dumpster. Community service workers and our maintenance department will be responsible for moving the steel to the ground level as a courtesy to the contractor.”

Crabtree said the agreement was worked out in such a way that the county would not have to pay anything for the service.

He said there were roughly 65 cells located on the fourth floor.

Since the new Scioto County Jail opened in 2006, the majority of the fourth floor has remained vacant and been used as storage space. Over time, the roof of the building began to leak and caused some damage to the space rendering the majority of it uninhabitable.

Other accomplishments include replacement of the roof on the courthouse.

Crabtree said now that the roof have been replaced and the steel has been removed, the commissioners are exploring options on possible use of the fourth floor.

In February, the Scioto County Commissioners entered into a contract with Five Star Commercial Roofing for $99,990 to replace the existing roof of the courthouse. In March, a change order came in on the roof project and was approved by the commissioners that called for an additional $23,000 to be spent on the project to replace a layer of insulation between the roof and the concrete that had become damaged over the years.

According to the Scioto County Auditor’s office, a total of $122,990 was paid by the county to Five Star Commercial Roofing.

Other accomplishments included expanding the membership of the Southern Ohio Port Authority from 11 to 21 members.

The Scioto County Financial Planning and Supervision Commission, passed a measure to allow the county to pay off a various purpose bond.

“A few years back $500,000 was borrowed when the budget was tight, to help make payroll,” Crabtree said. “This was discussed with one of the people that handle our bonds and my understanding was that was OK to do. That was one of the things they used to put us (Scioto County) in fiscal emergency.”

Crabtree said when the bond was paid off it only cost us $366,578.82. The bond was officially paid off on Sept. 12.

The Scioto County Financial Planning and Supervision Commission also approved measure allowing the commissioners to refinance one of its existing bonds. This action could result in savings of up to $500,000 over the life of the bond.

When asked what the initial use of the bonds was, Crabtree said, “It was for the Shelton (Industries) building, the co-signing of the Shelton building. Over the past eight years that I’ve been here we have tried to issue court orders for the gentleman who was responsible for the debt in the first place to come and testify to his current financial status. We have sent certified letters and over that period of time, they have been undeliverable.”

Crabtree said the county has not been able to do anything else in the way of eliminating that debt.

A new year with new challenges are coming, but Crabtree was able to find satisfaction with the work the county had completed in 2013.

“Under the circumstances, I’m satisfied we’ve done the best we could with what dollars we had,” Crabtree said.

Commissioner Doug Coleman said there has been a spirit of cooperation among the commissioners in 2013.

“We’ve all worked together, Skip, me and Mike have come together and that worked well together throughout the year. I think, when you work good together you get things done,” Coleman said.

Along those same lines Commissioner Skip Riffe said, “All I can do is echo what Mike has said as being a good year financially. We are close now to getting out of fiscal emergency.”

Riffe said the commissioners are hopeful that sometime in the spring the county will be released from fiscal emergency status.

Riffe also gave credit to the county employees for contributing to a successful year.

For more information about Scioto County and the many services offered visit www.sciotocountyohio.com.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.