CHIP program issues going to arbitrator


An agreement to move forward with an arbitrator was made following a discussion with Highland County Community Action Housing Director Mark Current at the weekly Wednesday meeting of the county commissioners.

Current was in attendance at the meeting to discuss a situation with a Lafferty family and their property that the Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) Program was involved in. Following the program’s involvement, Current said the Lafferty family reported a complaint three years after the conclusion of the program on their property.

After the complaint, he said, multiple people from HCCAO visited the property as well as someone from the state CHIP program and that there was not any “real validity” to the claims. He also said the Laffertys were accusing the program of multiple things like putting snakes in their home and causing Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, inside it.

Current said the Lafferty family showed photos of him on his lunch break while in another county and other staff while the Lafferty family was in another complaint meeting, with Current also saying that they were “basically stalking us.” He also said the Lafferty family left a message on Barbara Richards’, a senior program manager with the Ohio Department of Development, phone that was “full of rage.”

Following these events, Current said Richards recommended the HCCAO to go to the final step of the conflict resolution program, which is arbitration, “even though basically the conflict resolution is designed to be initiated by them (the Laffertys) in a certain way. They have not followed that.”

He said the conflict resolution was only supposed to be within the first year of work by the CHIP program because you can’t hold someone responsible for work completed four years ago. He also said he didn’t think the arbitration would amount to “a whole lot” because it’s past the deadline and many eyes have seen the house and the work, with some of the claims being “so outlandish.”

Commissioner Dave Daniels agreed to move forward with the arbitration process, but also said he thought it was unnecessary.

Concerning the stalking claims, Daniels advised Current to report it to law enforcement just to make them aware of the incidents, with Current saying he would do so.

In other news, Daniels said the county is starting to look into some of the sewer system projects as reported last week. He said one of those projects would include an income survey for users of the Rolling Acres Sewer System.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of those folks filling out that survey,” Daniels said. “That opens up the door for grant opportunities for help with some of the capital costs that are gonna be necessary.”

Daniels said the estimated cost of the project would be $600,000 to $850,000.

For the improvement project at the Rocky Fork Lake sanitary sewer, he said that over the next two years, the improvements would be around $3.5 million, or “maybe” a little more. Daniels also said there would be letters sent to property owners that would outline what the programs would look like and the tentative cost increases.

Daniels said phase one would be the construction of new clarifiers, which the county has already received bids for. He said phase two would be for a tertiary filter, with no bids received yet.

Greenfield Finance Director Gary Lewis was in attendance at the meeting to follow up about reports that the village would receive its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money this week. He said, however, that on Tuesday, Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin received an email saying that wouldn’t happen.

Commissioner Terry Britton said they were working on it and hoped to have it wrapped up “very very soon.”

Daniels said the board has some paperwork to finish that caused the hold-up.

The sales tax receipts for the month were also reported to the board of commissioners, with this month’s receipts coming in at $679,258.42, which was $35,748.66 more than the same month last year.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

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