Senior Services progress discussed

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Belmont County Commissioners answered questions about the progress of the Senior Services changeover and other issues during their Wednesday meeting.

Clarence Briggs inquired about an update to the proposed moving of Senior Services to a separate department. He noted that after five months no decision has been announced.

“These questions have to have answers,” he said.

Commissioner Matt Coffland noted that Senior Services has continued smoothly during the deliberations.

Commissioner Charles R. Probst, Jr. added that commissioners must take the time to make informed decisions.

“Sometimes we are at the mercy of other people. We make decisions on the information that’s presented to us. Sometimes to make those decisions we have to wait on other people,” he said, adding that they are awaiting information from DJFS and legal counsel.

Coffland added that the finances are public record and Senior Services was spending its allocated budget from the levy.

Commissioner Ginny Favede said she shared concerns about the delays in isolating Senior Services.

“I am extremely frustrated with our lack of action,” she said, but stressed that services to seniors are continuing. These include food, transportation and operation of the senior centers. Other items such as a permanent facility and new senior centers for Flushing and St. Clairsville have been on hold for the past three years.

Coffland pointed out that the funding for those added non-operations projects fall under Capital Improvements controlled by the commissioners.

Favede noted that they are looking into the cost of tearing down or renovating the former hab center and construct a senior facility to hopefully be completed in two years.

Probst added that he has proposed a feasibility study on constructing a kitchen by the Oak View Residential Center. He added that he would vote in favor of the separation of Senior Services from Human Services on the grounds that it will save $500,000-600,000.

Probst noted the importance of details when keeping track of funds and taking on future projects. In the event a senior levy fails to pass, a reserve account would be necessary to continue services.

In other matters, a guest inquired about the procedure of filing charges against the sheriff’s office. He claimed to have been denied needed medical attention while under arrest. Coffland said the first step would be contacting the prosecutor.

Another guest inquired about zoning and restrictions in the county with regard to trailer parks. The county does not have zoning, but the municipalities have ordinances covering the issue. County offices such as the Health Department and Flood Plain Coordinator regulate some issues.

Commissioners held an executive session with Attorneys Jeff Stankunas and Julia Baxter and Christine Palmer, HR Manager, pursuant to a court action exception. As a result, commissioners motioned to approve payment to Robyn Marshall for eight hours straight time for the Veterans Day Holiday Nov. 11, 2012 for $178.72.

At the recommendation of counsel for their representation in defense of an EEOC charge, commissioners waived attorney-client privilege regarding e-mail from Palmer to the commissioners and Lucas Jan. 4 and 7, 2013.

Probst was authorized to execute a subgrant award agreement for portable radio replacement. The award period is Jan. 1-Dec. 13 in 2013. OCJS funds the purchases with $22,500.

The DJFS was authorized to approve and sign the renewal of a contract between the county Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Clerk of Courts effective Feb. 1, 2013-Jan. 31, 2014 in the amount of $18,370.43 based on a unit rate of $13.61. Federal funds come to 66 percent, or $12,124.48, with a local match of 34 percent, or $6,245.95. the Clerk of Courts files and maintains court judgment entries and records for CSEA cases.

Commissioners motioned to accept a quote from Doan Ford, Inc. for $36,971 for the purchase of a new 2013 Ford F-150 with Hot Shot package to be used for meal deliveries for Senior Services. The vehicle was purchased with levy funds.

Commissioners accepted a quote from Hi-Tek Security totalling $4,134.48 for security camera installation at the Clerk of Courts title office. Cameras are to be paid from the Certificate of Title Administration Fund.

Favede was authorized to execute subgrant award agreements for the Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence grant. These cover a personal crimes investigator with $3,435.75, and a cash match of $1,145.25. Funds for another personal crimes investigator are $41,473.56 and an in-kind match of $13,824.52.

The next Ohio Valley Job Fair will be held April 3, noon-4 p.m. at the Ohio Valley Mall, St. Clairsville. For more information, call Belmont County Connections, (740) 633-5627 or toll-free at 1-877-516-5627.

A town hall meeting will be held March 11, 6 p.m. at the Barnesville Municipal Building, 132 N. Arch St.

DeFrank can be reached at