Harrison court gets grant funds

CADIZ – Shawn Hervey, Harrison County Common Pleas Court judge, announced to the Harrison County Commissioners Wednesday that his court had received grant money for and would be participating in the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, National Institute of Corrections Thinking for a Change program.

“Through the diligence of our Chief Probation Officer John Jackson, we have received a state grant to start this program which deals with felony offenders,” Hervey explained.

Jackson told the board that the state awarded the court an additional $8,265 which will fund a part-time certified facilitator from the East Ohio Correctional Center for the 26-class program.

“Thinking for a Change (T4C) is an integrated, cognitive behavioral change program for offenders that includes cognitive restructuring, social skills development, and development of problem solving skills,” Jackson explained, adding that the skills will give the offender an alternative to the crime and hopefully prevent that person from becoming a repeat offender.

“One of the things we have struggled with is that we have an excellent staff at community corrections but we have not had the program to go with it,” Hervey added. “So you end up seeing the same people over and over again and the same behavior over and over again. That is frustrating for the court and for the community, and we think this will give us another tool in our belt to combat that.”

Treasurer Vicki Sefsick told the board that her office has sent out letters targeting 267 delinquent parcels totaling $1,106,000 for collection. The letter explains that the property is eligible for a Tax Lien Certificate Sale which is scheduled to be held Dec. 2.

The last day to pay with a personal check is Nov. 15 for land owners to remove their property from the sale. An additional $25 fee is assessed to each parcel to cover administrative fees. The parcels not paid by the Dec. 2 deadline will be sold to Tax Ease which will then add 18 percent interest and put the delinquent account into collections.

Tax Ease will pay the county the full amount for all parcels the day of the sale, and then after one year, if they are unable to recover the past due taxes plus accrued interest and costs, they have the option to file a foreclosure action and sell the property at a sheriff’s sale.

Property taxes will continue to be charged to the parcel owner during the collection period.

Sefsick reported that her office had been flooded with phone calls and inquiries since the letters have been sent. The Treasurer’s office can be reached at 740-942-8864 if there are any questions concerning the process.

Harrison County Engineer’s Office Business Service Officer Doug Crabtree told the board that his office had established the water and sewer taps and meter rates for large taps. Resolution 28-12 sets rates at $65 per month for 3-inch, $80 for 4-inch, $95 for 6-inch and $115 for 8-inch meters and will come into effect Jan. 6, 2014. The 3/4-inch tap and a 4-inch sanitary sewer hook up cost is $1350, and larger hook ups will be based on a cost plus materials up from that fee.

“We do not have any taps this size pending at this time, but anticipate that with the growth that there will be large line taps in the future,” Crabtree stated.

Crabtree also announced that the Ohio Department of Transportation had published their prospective paving plans for 2014 and 2015. No major paving projects are scheduled for next year, but in 2015, paving and repair of SR 151 through Bowerston to Scio and from SR 800 from Freeport to Dennison are scheduled.

Two county positions will be vacant as the Department of Job and Family Services and Veterans Commission announced personnel changes. The board accepted the resignation of social worker Sonja Todd. Director of the DJFS Scott Blackburn said that the position will be advertised this week. It was also announced that Dave Rose is retiring from the Veteran’s Office and funding transfers were approved to cover the salary of a new part-time service officer.

Blackburn also took the opportunity to thank voters, “for voting to renew the Children Services Levy.”

“I truly appreciate your support and your trust in your Harrison County Department of Job and Family Services – Children Services Unit to make sure the children of Harrison County remain safe.”

Sheriff Ronald J. Myers also thanked voters for supporting his law enforcement levy. He told the commissioners that at the October Safety Meeting that several representative from pipeline companies had attended.

In other business:

The Dog Warden announced that the Girl Scouts had approached him about having a Dog Adoption Day. The event will be held on Dec. 8 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Cadiz firehouse. Dogs from the pound are scheduled to be available to visitors at the fire station.

The USDA – Natural Resource Conservation Service work group has been rescheduled for Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. in Hopedale.

An auction will be held Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. at the Harrison County Garage featuring miscellaneous county property, including a former sheriff cruiser, a county home van and a county highway service truck.

Palmer may be reached at mpalmer@timesleaderonline.com