Splash pad plan underway, MCO plan not so much

By Nikki Blankenship - nblankenship@civitasmedia.com

The Scioto Couny Commissioners announced Thursday that the Doug Coleman Memorial Splash Park will open soon. The pad opening has been delayed since May due to a hang up with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Commissioner Cathy Coleman explained that she visited the ODH Wednesday and was able to get their final decision. The schedule 35 drain pipe used by the contractor Vortex will not be acceptable. However, the project can be fixed with minimal excavation and pipe replacement.

“We’ve already started excavation,” Commissioner Bryan Davis stated.

Excavation was started Wednesday as soon as Commissioners heard the decision. It will be completed by Solid Rock. Pipe will be replaced with schedule 80. Once excavation and pipe replacement is completed, Davis said they will call in the State for an inspection, cover it up and get the pad open.

Davis hopes to be able to have the ODH inspection done by Monday.

“We’re thinking everything’s going to be done by the end of next week,” he stated.

He refused to comment as to when the pad would open for fear of another delay.

“We’ll get this done quickly,” he commented. “What I don’t know is the unknown.”

The excavation and pipe replacement is not to exceed $20,000 though Davis says it may be less.

“We are getting this done at a huge savings,” he confirmed.

Davis also stressed that Vortex is liable for the issue, and he is in negotiations with them to see how much of the cost they are willing to bear.

“I want them to pay all of it,” he stated. “It’s on them.”

Prosecutor Mark Kuhn, who was present for the Commissioners’ Meeting, agreed.

Davis added that he had heard an update on the Medicaid managed care organizations (MCO) sales tax elimination.

“It looks like right now there is no fix in the Senate budget,” he stated.

There is, however, an amendment in the Senate that could offer a full replacement. The current law provides that effective October 1, 2009 “all transactions by which health care services are paid for, reimbursed, provided, delivered, arranged for, or otherwise made available by a Medicaid health insuring corporation pursuant to the corporation’s contract with the state” is subject to both state and local sales and use taxes collected by the Department of Taxation.

For purposes of collecting the tax, the MCO is considered the consumer of the service. The state and local sales taxes are collected by the state and the local portion is remitted to the county or transit authority. For purposes of applying local sales taxes, the state credits the local sales tax to the county of residence of the MCO enrollee. Overly simplified, the MCO tax is a sales tax on Medicaid transactions. No matter which side of the debate regarding whether or not the tax should be permissible, it is still expected to hit budgets hard, costing the County a potential lost revenue of $2.1 million.

“Right now is a major crunch time to be calling our Senate and pushing for a resolution,” Davis stated.

There are still other hopes of another solution.

“My understanding is the House does have an amendment waiting,” Davis added.

Before adjourning, the Commissioners also approved several agenda items including the reappointment of Joseph Patty to the Portsmouth Public Library Board of Trustees; a subgrant agreement stating that since Scioto County does not have a Children’s Home Children Services will act as the agency; and a memorandum of understanding for local workforce development funding through the Ohio Means Jobs Center.

The Scioto County Commissioners meet at 9:30 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday on the first floor of the Scioto County Common Pleas Court, located at 602 7th Street in Portsmouth.

By Nikki Blankenship


Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.