Meigs commissioners: Elections law must be followed

By Lorna Hart - [email protected]

POMEROY — The Meigs County Board of Commissioners on Thursday briefly talked about the Ohio Court of Appeals ruling on the Meigs County Home Rule ballot initiative before moving on to other business.

The court ruled last week on the case brought against the commissioners by the Meigs County Home Rule Committee regarding their failure to approve the initiative for the Nov. 3 ballot.

The committee alleged the commissioners used “delay tactics” as an excuse not to pass a resolution certifying the petition presented to them by the Board of Elections.

The court ruled that the Ohio Revised Code was not followed when the Board of Elections failed to properly certify the petition itself, having only, according to the court, certified the number and validity of the signatures.

The commissioners were exonerated by the court and stated in their summation; “… we find no evidence of delay tactics by the Commissioners.”

The brief went on to say the Commissioners did not have a legal duty under the ORC to adopt the resolution and that election laws are mandatory and require strict compliance.

Commission president Randy Smith said the commissioners were satisfied with the court’s decision regarding the Home Rule Petition.

“We want to encourage and support people’s rights to ballot initiatives,” Smith said. “Our responsibility as elected officials is to make certain we comply with ORC requirements when we certify an initiative to be placed on the ballot. There are election laws that must be followed and the court agreed that, in fact, that is what we did.”

The Meigs County Commissioners recognized National Assisted Living Week, Sept. 13-19. The theme for 2015 is “Nourishing Life: Mind, Body, Spirit.”

“In recognizing National Assisted Living Week, we would like to compliment the workers and health care professionals in the assisted living field,” Smith said,” and the positive affects they have on the residents and their families.”

In other business, the commissioners approved the minutes for the last meting, as well as approved the bills presented.

Plans for the new Meigs County Dog Shelter are moving forward. Jim Thomas, of BDT Architects, designed the plans for the shelter and recommended the commissioners accept the low bid of $238,949 from Baer Contracting, LLC .

The commissioners agreed with the architects choice of contractors and referred the contract to Meigs County Prosecutor Colleen Williams for review. The prosecutor’s office assumes the role of attorney for the commissioners and will look over the contract before final approval.

Work also began to assign an address to the location chosen for the shelter currently the site is referred to as “the area near the intersection of Highland and Laural Cliff, near the recycling bins.”

The commissioners then went into a brief executive session. Details of the session were not available at press time.

Rebecca Long, vice-president of administration at Rio Grande Community College, recommended Paul Reen’s term on the college board, which was set to expire in this month, be renewed. In a letter to the commissioners, Long asked that the commissioners approve another five-year term.

The commissioners approved the renewal on the recommendation of Rio Grand Community College, saying that it is customary to follow the request of the college.

“Since they (the college administration) have been working with their appointees, we respect their wishes unless there are extenuating circumstances in which we would feel the candidate was unsuited,” Smith said.

Spector Energy announced they will be applying for a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permit to add a third gas line to one that currently exists in the county. Discussion surrounded wear and tear on roads in Columbia and Sipio townships.

Meigs County engineer Eugene Triplett said he wants to ensure there is no cost to Meigs County residents for road maintenance as a result of the construction project and suggested Spector Energy be required to sign a Road Use Maintenance Agreement before work begins.

The agreement would require the company to provide a $50,000 bond and agree to leave the roads the same or better than before the project began. Spectra Energy will also be required to have road permits and adhere to weight limits already in place.

The Meigs County Commissioners meet in regular session at 11 a.m. every Tuesday at the Meigs County Courthouse.

Contact Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155 Ext. 2551.

By Lorna Hart

[email protected]