Gun shooting claims disputed


An Hillsboro man accused at last week’s Highland County Board of Commissioners meeting of offending his neighbors with alleged barrages of gunshots showed up at this week’s meeting to defend himself.

Jeff Robertson said he heard about last week’s discussion in the newspaper and realized “it was all false.” He said the board of commissioners was “basically” fed a lot of misleading information about what he does on his Selph Road property.

He said he has been a certified pistol instructor for 20 years for concealed carry, defensive rifle, defensive shotgun and instructed weapon control and weapon retention techniques. He also said he was a police officer for five years when he served under special operations team units.

Robertson said the complaints made it seem like he was unsafe, which he felt was not the case. He said he’s spoken to his neighbors in the past and couldn’t get anywhere with them in terms of a good time to shoot like possibly calling them before shooting to let them know.

“As far as me knowing how to handle a firearm safely, that’s a non-issue,” he said. “What it boils down to, honestly, with Mr. (Doug) Chaney is he just don’t like me, to be completely honest. He’s threatened me in the past, been harassed, called, yelled across the field at. You know, whatever.”

Robertson said he read that he supposedly created property damage. He said the property damage was caused by a neighbor’s kid next door, and when that became common knowledge, Chaney, one of the two people involved in the complaints at last week’s meeting, decided not to press charges. He also said that the sheriff’s office has been to his property numerous times check on its safety.

He said that he isn’t trying to be disrespectful or rude and that he doesn’t shoot in the early morning or late at night despite what was claimed at last week’s meeting. He said that when any rifle is shot, they’re shot at a 12-foot wide, 6-foot tall, 6-foot deep berm that’s built for shooting.

In terms of the amount of shooting he does, Robertson said it can depend on what he’s doing. He said he does “a lot” of load development, creating rounds for a firearm. He said when he does that he might create three rounds then shoot them at a 100-yard target and see how they look. Following that, he said he might be good with that or he could change something with the rounds and try three more to try to get them right. He said that during a session of load development he might fire 20 rounds “tops” over the course of a “few hours.” Robertson refuted claims that he shoots 1,000 rounds in a half-hour. He said that only happened one time in one full day.

Because of his training firearms instruction, he said he shoot his 9mm pistol “quite a bit.” He said he bought 1,500 rounds in August and that he still has 800 left.

“It amounts to I’m a younger guy,” Robertson said. “I’m not sitting in the house or being quiet. I got older neighbors is what it really boils down to and I’m trying to be as respectful as I can be, but I’m not gonna sit in my house, you know. I’m active. But, again, obviously, I’m not doing anything illegal. I’m not trying to be disrespectful. I just wanted to set everybody straight, that’s all.”

In other news, Doug Karnes, a partner at Hillsboro engineering firm McCarty and Associates, was present at the meeting to discuss updates from the new planning commission meeting pertaining to a proposed records storage building. Karnes said the site plan for the building was approved with no exceptions, including two variances, which were parking and a setback on Beech Street. He said that because of that, McCarty and Associates was given approval to submit for a building permit.

Karnes said that moving forward the company will update the board of commissioners on the construction schedule and what can happen with the other phase of the project — the records storage — at the same time.

Board president Jeff Duncan said that with the county upgrading the Rocky Fork Lake area sewer system using American Rescue Plan Act funds, the rates at the facility should be looked at.

Commissioner Dave Daniels said it was suggested by their consultant and system operator to raise the Rocky Fork Lake Sewer monthly user rates by $2 from $38 per month to $40. The board of commissioners moved to go forward with the rate increase starting on March 1, 2023.

Daniels said when the new rates were set for Rolling Acres and Lakeside, the possibility of the rate increase for Rocky Fork was discussed, with the board agreeing it should wait until after a year’s worth of monthly collections at the facility. Following receiving these collections, he said the delinquency rate at the facility was brought down to 1.5 percent of the total users.

The board also agreed to a $4,800 purchase agreement with SNH Land Resources for a land and lift station associated with the sewer system.

Daniels said the board looked into possibly entering into an easement agreement with SNH Land Resources, but as talks continued, they decided to buy the land instead.

Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley released the sales tax receipts for December showing that the county took in $9.26 million, $3.98 million better than a year ago. December’s receipts totaled $813,428, $103,589 better than last December.

“That’s been a pleasant, pleasant surprise to, I think, all of us,” Duncan said. “As to the economy in general, maybe it is not quite so robust, but the sales tax receipts have been great for the county, so that’s good news.”

Duncan, in his last board of commissioners meeting before retiring at the conclusion of his term, gave his farewells and thanks.

“So, I want to thank everybody for eight years of service and it’s been an enjoyable ride… One other thing I want to talk about,” he said. “Things coming up in ‘23. We’ve got a dog pound we’re going to finish up in ‘23. We just had a short discussion about they’re starting to work on a new facility out at the fairgrounds. We’re talking about a new Extension building. We’re talking about a new records center … and, so, lot of exciting things coming down the road for the county and this is due to the influx of funding from the federal government. So, the county’s doing some things that they just haven’t been able to do for, I’m gonna stick my neck out and say forever. So, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the county. So, I feel blessed to be able to leave on a positive note. Well, once again I want to wish everybody a Merry Christmas, prosperous new year and thank you all.”

In other news, there were 13 resolutions approved by the board:

* Res. No. 22-220 is authorization for a budget modification within the Engineer’s budget for $324,893.

* Res. No. 22-221 is authorization for a transfer to Capital Improvement in the amount of $4 million.

* Res. No. 22-222 is authorization for a transfer to Victim Witness in the amount of $82,000.

* Res. No. 22-223 is authorization for a transfer to Records Preservation in the amount of $250,000.

* Res. No. 22-224 is a request from the Highland County Board of Developmental Disabilities for an additional appropriation of $8,900.

* Res. No. 22-225 is authorization for a budget modification within the coroner’s budget for $5,110.

* Res. No. 22-226 is a request from Job and Family Services for a transfer of funds from Public Assistance Reimbursement to Children Services Refunds for $61,477.

* Res. No. 22-227 is authorization for a budget modification within the Rocky Fork Lake Sewer budget in the amount of $473.

* Res. No. 22-228 is authorization for a budget modification within the Victim Witness budget in the amount of $50.

* Res. No. 22-229 is authorization for a budget modification within the Real Estate Assessment fund budget for $4,681.

* Res. No. 22-230 is authorization for a budget modification within the treasurer’s budget of $500.

* Res. No. 22-231 is authorization for a budget modification within the Clerk of Courts, Certificate of Title budget of $2,500.

* Res. No. 22-232 is authorization for a budget modification within the Veteran Services budget for $2,228.

There were also three contracts approved by the board:

* Contract 100 is between the board of commissioners, Ohio Department of Development and Community Action Organization for the Community Housing Impact and Preservation Program.

* Contract 101 is for a real estate purchase contract at 12249 North Shore Dr. for $8,100.

* Contract 102 is between the board of commissioners, Highland County Auditor and the Ohio Auditor of Sale for the Annual Financial Statements and Accountant’s Report.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

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