Recorder’s changes gain commissioners’ attention


Times Leader Staff Writer

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Belmont County Commissioners made several financial decisions with regard to the recorder’s office during their Wednesday meeting.

County Recorder Mary Catherine Nixon had requested that money per deed processed in her office going to her general fund supplemental be increased from $4 to $7. She pointed out the increased use due to oil and gas interests, which was causing wear and tear on book covers. She is also looking into acquiring a refurbished microfiche reader for an estimated $4,000.

She noted that on Tuesday her office saw 175 leases, yielding a total of $6,282. Her office’s share came to $700 with the rest divided between the general fund and the state.

“I expect to get more leases as it goes on,” she said.

However, commissioners noted that the Ohio Revised Code requires the fund be renewed every five years. Due to oversights, it has not been renewed since 1998. The commissioners were obligated to dissolve the fund and will consider re-instating it with the requested addition January. Meanwhile, Nixon’s office will be given a direct appropriation for the remainder of the year.

To further complicate matters, the state auditor has informed the county that books do not qualify as equipment, so the fund may not be used for book repair. Commissioners would have to look into the issue further.

In other matters, a visitor pointed out the need for paving on the county’s highways and byways, noting a one percent piggyback tax to fund 911 and infrastructure. He added that quality roads were necessary for business growth. Paving has not been done in the past two years.

Commissioners agreed that paving was needed, but pointed out cuts of $5 million by the state auditor. They said they were looking into funding sources and added that paving would be initiated once finances were sufficient.

Commissioner Matt Coffland noted that paving cost has increased to $100,000 per mile.

In other matters, commissioners commented on last Tuesday’s botched attempt to shoot at chip County Road 10 between Lafferty and Flushing. Parnell & Associates did the work on behalf of Oxford Mining. Car owners that suffered damage as a result should contact Parnell if the vehicle owner’s insurance will not cover the damages. Parnell’s insurance may cover it.

Commissioner Charles R. Probst Jr. added that it may be necessary to write a resolution requiring business contractors to adhere to the county specifications.

The commissioners sent a letter to the Federal EPA informing the agency that the pending sale of the Yorkville mill now known as RG Steel is of interest to the county due to its vital impact on local economy and employment. They noted the need for an expedient resolution to the issue of RG Steel’s failure to comply with EPA regulations. The commissioners support the pursuit of abatement of EPA compliance concerns and urge all parties to work together to facilitate the transition.

In other business:

Commissioners motioned to advertise for bids for full service technology support and maintenance program for various specified county offices and locations.

Commissioners motioned to adopt a resolution accepting tax rates as determined by the Belmont County Budget Commission and authorizing tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor.

Commissioner Ginny Favede was authorized to execute an invoice for Waller Corp. for the adaptive reuse of the sheriff’s residence. The federal share of 80 percent comes to $76,952.52. The local share comes to $19,238.13. Total is $96,190.65.

Probst was authorized to execute the contract and notice to proceed for Lash Paving in the amount of $160,120 to complete all work required for the resurfacing of the parking lot behind the courthouse.

Commissioners motioned to advertise for bids for the Centerline Pavement Markings Project for various county highways.

The county auditor was authorized to petition the court of common pleas regarding idle funds.

Executive sessions were set for 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Thursday for the purpose of personnel interviews.

DeFrank can be reached at