Two ongoing programs to help low- and moderate-income residents with housing related upgrades were on the docket at the Carroll County commissioners' April 24 meeting while a contract between the county sheriff's department and the Fraternal Order of Police was the highlight of the board's April 20 meeting.
Janice Leggett, clerk supervisor for the board, reported that the county's septic repair and replacement program can continue to accept applications from residents.
Funded with a $300,000 grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the program repairs or installs septic systems at low- to moderate-income residences that apply for assistance and meet eligibility requirements.
Leggett said funds totaling about $167,000 of the grant have been spent on projects to date, leaving enough funding for the board to consider additional requests for septic assistance.
Applications for assistance must be received in the board of commissioners office no later than June 30. The application form for homeowners is available on the county's website at www.carrollcountyohio.us/commissioners/publicnotices.html.
The board also reviewed a final budget for an application the county will submit to the state's Community Housing Impact and Preservation Program, which helps residents with housing repairs and rehabilitation.
Consultant Rebecca Hall, of Hall Community Development, said the county will apply for a $400,000 grant to cover rehabilitation and repair projects as well a home construction project and a new rental assistance program.
Hall said the county would plan to spent $195,900 of the grant on rehabilitating up to five homes and $119,000 on repairs to 10 homes.
The county also plans to partner with Habitat for Humanity for a project to construct one house up to a cost of $20,000.
A new rental assistance program will earmark a total $16,200 of the CHIP grant to help two households with apartment rent up to $8,100 for the year per household. The amount of funding for a household will depend on what percentage of income the household is spending on rent per year.
Hall said the county's Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Services board will coordinate the program.
Residents will be able to apply for the CHIP program this autumn pending state approval of the county's proposed budget. Application forms will be available from the board of commissioners office.
Commissioners gave official approval at their April 20 meeting to a new contract that the county sheriff's department negotiated with the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents law enforcement staff in the department.
Carroll County Sheriff Dale Williams said the contract will become effective after the department's existing contract with the union expires at the end of this year.
According to Williams and FOP representative Robert Goheen, the terms of the new contract, including those for staff benefits, remain essentially the same as the existing contract except for wage increases, which the contract guarantees each year.
"That was an agreement when it all started. It was about wages. Nothing else changes in the contract," said Williams.
Union employees are now set to receive a six-percent increase next year, four-percent increase in 2019 and another four percent in 2020. The contract term ends on Dec. 31 of that year.
Lieutenant Troy Watson and Deputy BJ Barker, who serve as union representatives for the sheriff's department, said 22 department staff out of 24 voted in favor of the contract.
Board Vice President Robert Wirkner, who participated in the negotiations, said wage increases came about from discussions about how the sheriff's department could retain experienced law officers, many of whom in the past have spent only a few years with the county before moving on to higher wages at other law enforcement agencies in surrounding counties.
"It is becoming very difficult in this environment right now for police administrators to retain good quality officers. One, there just isn't a real good climate to be a police officer nowadays, and there aren't that many people that want to be a police officer. The person you want to retain is the person who has years on the job, who knows the people in the community, knows the lay of the land," Wirkner stated.
"What happens to smaller departments like ours, the sheriff is forced to take people straight out of the academy. The decision in this process was to give the sheriff the ability to retain quality deputies and to be competitive in retaining those deputies," he added.
Wirkner noted that wage increases were based on reviews of comparable information from surrounding sheriff's departments, including data showing that the Carroll County deputies serve nearly double the size of territory per deputy as deputies in bordering counties like Tuscarawas.
The sheriff's department and FOP noted that they came to terms with the contract after an unusually easy negotiation period that began early last month. The process this year stands in stark contrast to the anxious and contentious negotiations of two years ago, which Williams said dragged out until April of last year.
"Everybody put their cards on the table face up," Goheen remarked.
"It was fortunate that this round...we could come to an agreement without the usual," said Wirkner, adding that this year's negotiations did not require assistance from attorneys.
"I truly thank the commissioners, the FOP, the people who work in my office...to get the contract done in a very reasonable amount of time," Williams commented. "There's nobody who watches the budget any closer than the sheriff does, and I appreciate knowing this early in the year what the figures will be."
In other business, the board:
APPROVED a proclamation designating May 4 as National Day of Prayer for the county. Observances of the day will take place in Carrollton's Public Square beginning at 9 a.m. Dr. Mandal Haas will be the day's featured speaker with a presentation at noon.
ANNOUNCED that the board will hold a public hearing about modifications to the Carroll County Subdivision Regulations on Thursday, June 1, 9:30 a.m., in the commissioners' meeting room.
TABLED a discussion about a notice the board received from the county health department forecasting "insufficient funding" in fiscal year 2018. The board agreed to table the matter until Board President Jeff Ohler discusses it with Health Commissioner Leann Cline. Ohler reported that, according to information Cline provided, the department wants to keep a 25-percent carryover of funds in its budget for next year but currently has 12-percent carryover.
HEARD the County Dog Pound report for April 16 22: eight dogs impounded, none adopted, three redeemed, none euthanized, 11 citations for no license and two citations for running at large.
APPROVED a contract of $2,540 with Richardson Electric, LLC, of Carrollton, for electrical work at the county health department.
DISCUSSED repairs to metal work and painting of the courthouse bell tower with Ed Eick, building supervisor. The board agreed to postpone the estimated $91,000 project until next spring or summer based on funds in the county's budget. Discussion took place about transferring about $130,000 in unencumbered funds to the county's permanent improvements fund for the project if those funds are still available by this November. Ohler and Wirkner said spending the funds now would reduce the county's unencumbered balance to $39,000, an amount they said was too low this early in the year.