An online form for a concealed carry license was discussed at the weekly Wednesday meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners.
Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera said the organization has been looking to streamline its concealed carry permit process and appointment scheduling system. He said they found a company called Permitium, LLC, which has worked with some other counties in the area like Fayette County, which has been using the system for about a year and seemed to “really love” it.
Barrera said what the system does is use a link where people can register for their concealed carry license or make appointments, after which they will then come in to get their fingerprints and photographs. He said that he would like to use the board of commissioners’ website for the link. He also said the sheriff’s office’s IT person and the board of commissioners have been in contact about that possibility because Barrera said they don’t have a website.
Barrera said nothing will change in terms of the military being exempt, with the pricing only being changed by $5 due to a processing fee to go Permitium, LLC, meaning the price for those doing the online form would be $72. He also said Permitium would send the sheriff’s office a monthly check for its payment portion.
For those interested, Barrera said people can still come into the office to register for the concealed carry permit the old-fashioned way.
Barrera said that if the sheriff’s office gets into a situation and doesn’t like it for any reason, it can get out of the agreement at any time. He also said there is no software agreement with the service, with there also being no payment to use the service. He said there was strictly an agreement to use the program.
Commission president Terry Britton said that the board needed to take a look at the software prior to agreeing to use it.
Commissioner Dave Daniels said that because it doesn’t cost anything, if its IT person says it doesn’t pose a problem, they could let Barrera know.
In other news, Jeremy Ratcliff, director of Highland County Jobs and Family Services (HCJFS), attended a meeting to witness the passing of a resolution to help the organization pay for placement costs for the month of January. He said the organization “typically” runs about 45 days behind paying those costs.
Ratcliff also said that in October 2022, the organization had 154 kids in care, and that by January 2023, that number had risen to 193 kids in care. He said that in just the first 2.5 months of the year, HCJFS had already opened 80 local investigations which resulted in 19 incidents where a total of 48 children were removed from their homes.
Daniels said he had to think that some of the increases were due to drug problems, with the cases not being normal 10 years ago.
Ratcliff said that was “fair,” also saying that 10 years ago he was peripherally aware of the issues families were facing. However, he said the kids they have now are in a higher class of need, meaning they have a higher placement cost.
The board of commissioners approved a bid from the Morgan Fence Company, the apparent low bidder for a quote at the Highland County Airport for two operators, a keypad and a remote. Britton said the Morgan Fence Company provided two separate quotes, with the first one in case the keypads are good, with that being $11,000, and the other for $11,900 if the keypads aren’t good.
Britton said Greystone Systems provided information about a possible new security system at the new dog pound.
Daniels said that the county is getting closer to the facility opening, but there might need to be tweaks coming to a couple of things at the dog pound. He said he thought it’d be nice to have a “simple home security system” at the dog pound in case there’s somebody in the parking lot doing “bad things.”
Commissioner Brad Roades said that a ribbon cutting for the dog pound will be held Friday, April 7.
Britton said the board plans to take a further look at an energy proposal from Muirfield Energy. He said the board needs to compare it with another proposal from the County Commissioners of Ohio (CCAO), with Murifield’s being “a hair” lower.
Britton also said the commissioners were notified that the indigent defense reimbursement rate was lowered again to 80 percent.
“Our reimbursement rate was 100 percent from the state,” Britton said. “Now, it looks like it’s dropped to 80 percent. Now, this does not mean we’re cutting any of the indigent defense attorney’s rate. This just means that our reimbursement rate has gone from 100 percent, then it went to 90 and now it’s 80 percent … We were promised that it would be at 100 percent, but as time goes on and budgets change, that right now is at 80 percent.”
Daniels said that the pay rate for indigent defense attorneys was “pretty low” for a long time, meaning that when the legislature added more money to the area, almost every county’s bar association asked for a bump in the rate. He said that the bump in price put pressure on the reimbursement rate line item at the state level.
In other news, there were three resolutions approved by the board:
* Res. No. 23-38 is authorization for the appointment of 2023 board members to the Highland County Local Corrections Planning Board and Reentry Coalition.
* Res. No. 23-39 is an authorization for a budget modification within the sheriff’s office budget in the amount of $600.
* Res. No. 23-40 is a request from the board of commissioners to create a line item within the Child Emergency Fund. Also requested was a budget modification from Transfers Out to Advances Out in the amount of $200,000. Another request was an advance from the Child Emergency Fund to Children’s Services Special in the amount of $200,000.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.