Officials eye handling of county records

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The Belmont County Records Commission met Thursday to review the disposition of county records.

In attendance were Recorder Mary Catherine Nixon, Clerk of Courts Cynthia McGee and Auditor Andrew Sutak, all records commission members.

Commissioner and Records Commission Member Ginny Favede said the situation began in 1997 with an erroneous decision to permit the records to be stored in the former Mediterranean under the care of the Belmont County chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society.

Favede said the decision was later reversed by the commissioners of the prior term due to concerns of the safety and secure storage of confidential records. They were subsequently moved to the former rehabilitation center at Oak View. She noted the site is secure and equipped with necessary facilities such as heating.

In an earlier commissioners’ meeting, a member of the Genealogical Society informed the board that its group still had possession of some records. The group offered to care for the information and suggested the county provide facilities. Favede said it was necessary to make records commission members aware of the situation and that those records remain their responsibility.

The precise number of records remaining in the care of the society and the period of time the records date from are unknown.

She noted that the only records the commissioners themselves are responsible for are those of the commissioners office itself. Each of the county elected officials are responsible for their own records. She added that Guernsey County’s clerk of courts is facing a lawsuit resulting from not having possession of requested records.

McGee, Nixon and Sutak have expressed a desire to maintain possession of their records.

“They take their oath of office very seriously and want to take the responsibility seriously and will continue to maintain their records themselves,” said Favede.

Commission members noted the unprecedented high demand for access due to the oil and gas interests.

The records commission will hold another meeting mid-January and seek the opinion of the prosecutor, who is also a records commission member.

In other matters, during the commissioners meeting they motioned to adopt the Preliminary Consent Legislation resolution empowering the engineer to enter into contracts with the director of ODOT to complete the removal and replacement of the bridge carrying County Road 80 over Interstate 70 near Fox Commerce Industrial Park. The bridge is 50 years old. The contractor will not be permitted to close the bridge until Sept. 9, 2013 due to the county fair and Jamboree in the Hills.

Commissioners motioned to adopt the Preliminary Consent Legislation resolution empowering the engineer to contract with ODOT to complete the removal and replacement of the bridge carrying County Road 26 over Interstate 70 at Morristown. The bridge is also 50 years old.

Commissioners motioned to enter into a roadway use and maintenance agreement for pipeline and compressor projects and infrastructure with the Ohio Gathering Company, LLC for use of county roads for ingress and egress from the Spencer to Arrowhead trunk pipeline, the Seneca Plant to Cadiz Plant pipeline, and the Hendrysburg Wells trunkline for pipeline activity. These include 2.95 miles of County Road 26, 2.7 miles County Road 98 (Badgersburg Road), 4.18 miles of County Road 102 (Mt. Olive Road), and 1 mile of County Road 100 (McMillan Road). Ohio Gatherings will post a $5 million bond that will cover these county roads and various other county roads as part of the ongoing pipeline project.

Commissioners motioned t advise the Ohio Division of Liquor Control that a hearing is not required in the matter of a request for a new liquor permit for Scooters Place LLC, DBA Scooters Place, 50101 Glencoe Stewartsville Road, first floor, Richland Township, Glencoe. No objections have been received. D3A-Extend issued permit privileges until 2:30 a.m.

Commissioners motioned to enter into vendor agreements on behalf of the Department of Job and Family Services for the provision of transportation for Title 19 individuals to medical appointments, effective Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013 in an amount not to exceed $50,000 for Barnesville Taxi, Neffs Fire Department, Martins Ferry EMS, and NCR Foundation. Levy funds will not contracts.

DeFrank can be reached at