Work needed on courthouse skyroof system

By Patrick Keck - [email protected]

SCIOTO — During its Thursday session, the Scioto County Commissioners reviewed and passed all 12 items on its agenda.

Among the dozen, the commissioners authorized the clerk to advertise a bidding notice for the skyroof system replacement at the county courthouse.

Commissioner Bryan Davis described that situation as a “continued problem,” which covers the rotunda and law library. It is separate from the other portion of the roof.

“We had a professional come in and look at the panels,” he said of the board’s fifth item. “They have reached the end of their life, probably way beyond the life span for those panels.”

Furthermore, the board approved the Portsmouth Metropolitan Housing Authority’s annually submitted community housing strategy. Among the highlights, Davis spoke on the plan’s new protocols which included closing the waiting list by removing non-current names.

Off the agenda, the commissioners received a question on their thoughts with Ohio House Bill 110 which passed Wednesday to the tune of 70-27 in favor.

Scioto’s Rep. Brian Baldridge, R-Winchester, was among the bill’s co-sponsors and voted yes on the state’s two-year budget now awaiting a Senate vote. The Ohio 90th District rep. identified increased funds for fire and police departments and school funding reforming as his reasons to back it.

“I was proud to vote in support of House Bill 110 today,” said Baldridge in a released statement. “There are several provisions in the complex bill that will better southern Ohio through funds for local programs and COVID-19 relief grants. This budget bill benefits individuals and businesses alike throughout the state.”

What the commissioners said would be most beneficial to its operations and the county as a whole were indigent defense reimbursement, broadband, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and children services.

“We have stated multiple times that it is a constitutional issue,” said Davis, referring to indigent defense which requires the county to foot the bill for an attorney when the defendant cannot afford it. “The state of Ohio ‘shall’ provide and ‘shall’ is a constitutional contract word that means they need to pay.”

Commissioner Cathy Coleman said broadband access in the rural areas of the county is a luxury, especially when compared to more populous counties such as Franklin, Delaware, and Hamilton.

“If you can say anything good came from COVID, it is the broadband,” she said, the House budget establishing the $190 million Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program. “It’s absolutely going to make a difference.”

Commissioner Scottie Powell withheld judgment of the budget, joining with Davis’ depiction of Scioto as the “show-me county.” He wants to see how the budget unfolds as the Senate and later Gov. Mike DeWine take a look at the legislation.

“There are so many things that can change,” he said. “I think a lot of the initiatives will sound and look the same but depending on how much money each entity thinks needs to be funneled toward those solutions is always the question.”

With the county on Level Two or “Orange” on the Ohio Department of Health’s Public Health Advisory System, the next meeting April 29 will be open to in-person media attendance. Scioto had been at Level Three between Sept. 24 and April 1, now back to Level Two for the past three weeks.

By Patrick Keck

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.