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Harrison County Board of Commissioners preparing to end CIC contract

T-L Photo/CARRI GRAHAM Commissioner Paul Coffland reads a resolution Wednesday authorizing the board to prepare a 30-day termination notice to the Harrison County Community Improvement Corp. if deemed necessary.

CADIZ — The Harrison County Board of Commissioners is preparing to potentially terminate its long-running contract with the Harrison County Community Improvement Corp. if it does not comply with certain stipulations regarding a legal matter.

Commissioners Paul Coffland and Don Bethel signed a document Wednesday that authorizes the board chairman, Coffland, to prepare a 30-day notice to the CIC of the board’s intention to terminate the two entities’ cooperative agreement if the board deems it necessary. Commissioner Dale Norris was absent from the meeting.

Following the session, Coffland said the document will allow for the county’s attorney to prepare a 30-day notice that he can deliver to the CIC. He explained that the document is a “continuation” of a process the board has been involved in with the CIC since early this year.

“It’s the next step. At this point things have been moving along but not at the pace we would like to see. It is my personal opinion that people work better with deadlines, so we’re hopeful and still encouraged that our relationship with the CIC can continue,” he said. “This just gives us the ability to act if we have to.”

Coffland said the commissioners are not comfortable with the current timeline that the CIC has had in the matter, and they are hoping the possible notice will encourage the corporation to move more quickly in the proceedings.

The board is involved in a legal matter with the CIC related to unspecified issues in the agreement between the two. Coffland said the legal issues involve “some land, monetary issues, rules and responsibilities and more defined terms on the principal agent relationship.” Commissioners previously stated that they are acting in the best interest of the county’s taxpayers by ensuring development funds are properly handled.

“This is going back to February when we started this process. There are some legal issues that we need to have worked out. There are some contractual issues that we need to work out. There are some monetary issues that need to be worked out, and I would say there are some certain roles and responsibilities and employee issues that need to be defined for all parties,” he said.

Coffland said the commissioners remain fully engaged in everything involving the planned Harrison Power and Western Magnesium Corp. plant projects.

“We don’t see this as an issue with any of those projects. This is simply internal, and we need to clean it up now so we can move forward so everyone has a clear role and expectation in what their responsibilities are,” he said.

Although commissioners are prepared to issue the notice, they are still hopeful that the matter will be resolved prior to that happening.

In other matters, masks are now required at the courthouse in Cadiz for personnel and visitors entering the building. Coffland said the board received an update in the policy last week from Judge T. Shawn Hervey and Judge Matthew P. Puskarich. He read the statement issued by the judges.

“Given the high COVID-19 transmission rate in Harrison County and the increasing number of cases, the court of common pleas general division and juvenile probate division is instituting a mask policy effective Sept. 16, 2021 for the health and safety of employees and the public,” Coffland read.

According to the policy, visitors must wear a mask at all times while in the building regardless of vaccination status. Employees must wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, while in the common areas of the courthouse and while interacting with the public or other employees.

For the board’s next two meetings, Sept. 29 and Oct. 6, commissioners will meet at 11 a.m. at the courthouse instead of 10 a.m.

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