OSU Extension to fairgrounds?


New aspects of the relocation of the OSU Extension Office to the Highland County Fairgrounds in Hillsboro were discussed at the Wednesday meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners.

Nicole Oberrecht, the county American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding coordinator, said that WDC Group, LLC, put out two requests. She said one of those proposals was for soil testing, boring and similar aspects like from Geotechnical Consultants. She said the company will do five different bors and then send them out for testing to make sure the soil is good.

Oberrecht said this proposal was for $5,000, with the construction observation aspect being billed at an hourly rate. She said the observation aspect was when the company would look at concrete and steel testing. She said that because there aren’t any local firms that do this kind of work, she thought it would be fine to move ahead with that portion.

Concerning the other proposal on the civil engineering side, Oberrecht said the county has received some proposals but is still waiting to hear from some local places. She said that hopefully next week or the week after they would have the civil engineering and topography side.

Commissioner Dave Daniels said the board also received a suggested draft timeline for the completion of the building for an October occupancy.

In other news, commissioner Terry Britton said that the board met with the Marshall Township Trustees earlier in the week to discuss the MARCS Tower. He said that when MARCS did a study for the area, they found that the southeast side of Highland County had a “real issue” with how the radios don’t work. He said that’s because the county’s current MARCS Tower is in the northern part of the county and it doesn’t give any coverage to that specific area in the south.

Britton said the county went after some funding from the capital budget to try and erect a new tower in the area. He said the county was able to get $750,000 of funding for the tower, which would cost about $1.4 million, with Britton saying that the county would be on the hook for the remainder of the cost.

He said that the Marshall Township Trustees have a property that the tower could possibly be put on, and that the commissioners asked the land to be donated to the county. Britton said the board gave them a month to try and figure out if that plan would work for them and if it’s feasible.

The board also moved to accept and move forward with implementing a contract between the Highland County Sheriff’s Office bargaining units and the commissioners. Britton did say it was just an acceptance and that the contract wouldn’t be signed until the final contract was received from legal counsel.

Daniels said this new contract was for three years with there being wage increases of $2 per hour in the first year, $1 per hour in the second year and a 3 percent increase in the third year of the contract. He also said that there were changes to pay for officer-in-charge, longevity and personal days and that “it’s my understanding that the members of each bargaining unit have voted and have voted to accept.”

The board approved three authorizations to execute. The first of those was for the Ohio Pet Fund Grant Application, which Daniels said was a grant that provided vouchers for spay and neuter programs at the Highland County Humane Society Animal Shelter. Britton said the grant was for $2,500. The other two authorizations were for a flood plain management letter from McCarty Associates, LLC and a purchase agreement for a 2022 Ford F-350 XL truck.

The board made an approval from the Ohio Department of Transportation for a 2022 County Highway System Mileage Certification.

Also, the board signed a letter of support for the Chillicothe Veterans Hospital. Daniels said there have been some discussions about changes coming to the Chillicothe VA and that there are “a number of veterans” from the area and all across Southern Ohio that use the facility. Daniels said the letter of support is to show that if changes can be made, they want the decision-makers in Washington, D.C. to know that the hospital is valuable for its veterans.

In other news, there were 10 resolutions approved by the board:

* Res. No. 23-08 is approval for a blanket resolution to cover all travel of Chad McConnaughey, county recorder, to all state and district meetings as deemed necessary for 2023.

* Res. No. 23-09 is authorization for the Highland County engineer to establish an alternative schedule of vacation leave and holidays for employees of the appointing authority for whom the state employment relations board has not established an appropriate bargaining unit.

* Res. No. 23-10 is authorization for the engineer to use the existing county employee forces and proceed by “force account” in the construction, reconstruction, improvement, maintenance or repair of roads, bridges and culverts as determined by the engineer.

* Res. No. 23-11 is approval for a blanket resolution to cover all travel of Christopher Fauber, the county engineer.

* Res. No. 23-12 is an authorization for a self-certifying $50,000 micro-purchase threshold for use of federal funds during the current fiscal year.

* Res. No. 23-13 is an authorization for the county engineer to purchase three 2023 Kubota Model SVL75 Compact Track Loaders from Zimmer Tractor, not to exceed $185,680, minus the trade-in value of two 2018 CAT 289s in the amount of $88,000, with the final purchase price being $97,680.

* Res. No. 23-14 is authorization for a budget modification within Youth Services DCC for $1,300.

* Res. No. 23-15 is authorization for an additional appropriation from unappropriated funds within the 2660 AP – FY20 fund in the amount of $18,871.

* Res. No. 23-16 is an authorization for an additional appropriation from unanticipated revenue within the board of elections fund in the amount of $19.57.

* Res. No. 23-17 is a determination for a purchase of a 2011 Ford F-250 not needed by the county and to be used as a partial down payment of the new vehicle. It is also an agreement to purchase a 2022 F-350 XL Truck in the amount of $41,991 and to be used as the Highland County maintenance truck.

There were also four contracts approved by the board:

* Contract 1 is between the board and the Ohio Department of Development for the State of Ohio Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) Program Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program Grant Agreement.

* Contract 2 is between the board and the Ohio Department of Development for the State of Ohio CHIP Program HOME Investments Partnership Program Grant Agreement.

* Contract 3 is between the board and WDC Group, LLC for the proposed OSU Extension office relocation.

* Contract 4 is between the board , the United States of America Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration and the Highland County Airport for the Airport Memorandum of Agreement.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

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