Concerns arise over records

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Belmont County Commissioners heard issues regarding the care of the public records during their Wednesday meeting.

Peg Hatcher from the Belmont County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society brought up concerns that records from the 1800s risked possible loss and damage from being handled by researchers.

She said the genealogical society offered to care for the records and suggested the commissioners provide facilities. She noted other counties used similar methods.

Commissioner Ginny Favede noted that the elected officials are the keepers of their department’s records and have authority over their storage. Clerk of Courts Cindy McGee said she appreciated the society’s work in safeguarding the records and dedication to the area’s heritage, but she intended to keep and maintain the records.

She added that the records were safe and currently organized in three locations.

Favede said that the records are being utilized by the oil and gas interests and heavily in demand, making it unavoidable that they be allowed to handle the books.

“We’re dealing with something now that’s unheard of. The need for the documentation to be turned over to the oil and gas people in a constant and daily basis,” she said.

Favede added that counties risked litigation by allowing records out of their direct possession.

McGee added that any help would be valued. They may discuss the matter further after the first of the year.

In other matters, commissioners noted the county’s renovation project recently earned a Project Best award for the use of all union employees.

In other matters, commissioners motioned to accept the annual report on the Delinquent Tax & Assessment Deduction Fund for Fiscal Year 2012.

Commissioners motioned to approve a $1 per hours pay increase effective Nov. 8 for Michael Reed, who has obtained his Class I Wastewater Collection System Operator License.

Commissioner Charles R. Probst Jr. was authorized to execute a select schedule annual equipment maintenance contract proposal from L3 Communications Security and Detection Systems, Inc. for $4,100 effective Nov. 17, 2012 and in effect until Nov. 16, 2013 for an annual preventive maintenance and radiation safety survey and performance report for the courthouse x-ray.

Commissioners motioned to approve hiring and enter into agreement with Vaughn, Coast & Vaughn, Inc., for professional engineering service for the Fox-Shannon Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Project in the amount of $25,000.

Commissioners motioned to enter into an agreement with Digital Data Communications, Inc. for a three-year term effective Dec. 1, 2012 through Nov. 30, 2015 for full service information Technology Support and Maintenance Program as specified Belmont County facilities in the amount of $144,000 yearly. Annual increases will be based on the Consumer Price Index, not to exceed three percent.

Commissioners motioned to approve a change order for $2,500 for Waller Corporation to provide additional emergency lighting for the Historic Belmont County Sheriff’s Residence project.

Favede was authorized to execute an invoice for Heritage Architectural Associates for the OUE Brick Tavern Project. The federal share comes to 80 percent, or $849, and the local share is 20 percent, or $212.25, for a total of $1,061.25.

Favede was also authorized to execute another invoice for Centennial Preservation Group for the OUE Brick Tavern Project. The ODOT and federal share comes to $9,713.52 and the local share is $2,428.38 for a total of $12,141.90.

Commissioners motioned to approve a cash advance of funds for $26,952.81 from the general fund to the Old Sheriff Residence/ODOT Grant fund for the sheriff’s residence adaptive reuse project. The Tourism Council must repay within 30 days.

As the result of an executive session, the human resources department was authorized to investigate issues regarding the 911 system.

Commissioners will re-convene Thursday, 11 a.m. for an executive session regarding personnel exception.

DeFrank can be reached at