The Highland County Board of Commissioners and Greenfield officials argued back and forth at the commissioners’ weekly Wednesday meeting over a disagreement about the lack of payment for the Greenfield Workforce Development Center.
Commissioner Dave Daniels said that following the opening of that facility, the board had a commitment from Greenfield officials for $1,000 per month to continue paying the lease. He said he had a copy of the unqualified letter and that there were “no qualifications on it.”
“I think we viewed this as a commitment from the city of Greenfield,” Daniels said.
However, he said the board has tried to bill Greenfield for the lease and hasn’t received any money.
“If you weren’t gonna honor this, then you should have called us and we would not have proceeded,” Daniels said.
Referring to American Rescue Plan Act funds which the two sides have argued over recently, Daniels said the board of commissioners set aside $375,000 for Greenfield for one of its programs, but that they “never promised anybody anything.” He said that after a misunderstanding with the Greenfield Workforce Development Center is cleared, then they will receive their money.
The comments come after multiple meetings where delegates from Greenfield have asked about the delay.
Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin said he believed the commissioners’ office received an email on March 5 asking for a contract so the village could move forward with payments, but that none has been received.
“We say get us a contract yet we haven’t seen a contract,” Wilkin said. “And so for the past three weeks, we’re waiting on paperwork for something that isn’t even affiliated with our (project).”
While Daniels said the board had a Memorandum of Understanding on hand, Wilkin said they don’t sign MOUs, rather they sign contracts, with Daniels saying the board would be “happy” to come up with a contract.
Wilkin said the commitment letter that was mentioned by Daniels was written in November 2021, and that the board of commissioners had more than a year and a half to prepare a contract. He also said the board hasn’t given Greenfield a chance to fall back on its word, as an invoice was sent in March 2023 from a pledge letter from November 2021, also saying that a contract should have been sent in November 2021.
“We have offered much help and I don’t understand why a commitment that’s not even associated with ARPA is holding up ARPA … And when we get a contract, we honor that word,” Wilkin said. “We didn’t come to talk about a pledge letter, and it’s fine. I’m happy Mr. Daniels brought it up. If that’s what’s holding up funding for the citizens and the businesses, it’s good that it’s out in the air now because it’s paperwork.”
However, Daniels said it was “not our problem.”
Commission president Terry Britton said the board would send Greenfield a contract, as well as an MOU if it wanted both.
In other news, Wilkin said the Facade Improvement Program has been a success for the village. He said he thought the program started in 2021, using the Coronavirus money it received, and reinvested it into downtown. He said that in the first year, 2021 to 2022, a lot of work was done which allowed 15 ribbon-cuttings to take place last year.
Wilkin also said that the program isn’t necessarily just facades, it’s the building’s “envelope,” meaning it could include windows on the exterior and some HVAC systems, among repairs.
Tara Campbell, deputy director of Highland County Community Action, was in attendance to discuss new recycling updates.
Campbell said that on June 3, the organization would have a prescription take-back and a tattered flag bring-in and shredding event at the Highland County Courthouse at the same time as the Farmer’s Market.
The board of commissioners approved a Road Use Maintenance Agreement for Fayette County Solar.
Highland County Engineer Christopher Fauber said the project would affect two, maybe three roads. He said those would be East New Martinsburg, a “little” portion of Lover’s Lane and Bonner Road. However, he also said that most of the activity would be in Fayette County.
The commissioners accepted a quote from Ellis Fencing Company for $3,750 to pull old posts and re-use them, and then re-string the fence to close the area back up, after which the county would keep the existing fence for later use.
Britton said the fencing was on county property on Homestead Drive by the Highland County Sheriff’s Office where it was looking to put a maintenance storage building. He said when a neighbor bought a lot next to it, the chain link fence ran to the edge of their property that also ran “way past” onto the county’s part.
The board of commissioners also accepted a quote of $4,570 for the replacement of a commercial garbage disposal in the kitchen of the Highland County Justice Center.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.