By DENISE GRANT
The Hancock Regional Planning Commission has received a clean audit on the same grants that were so mismanaged in 2008 and 2009 that the state ordered the money to be repaid two years ago.
“In fact, it was a perfect monitoring,” Director Matt Cordonnier said of the audit. “It put a big smile on all of our faces.”
Cordonnier took over as director of the commission following the audit trouble and the firing of former Director William Homka for misconduct in 2012. Homka was dismissed shortly after news of the bungled grant handling broke.
Findlay and Hancock County were ordered to repay more than a quarter-million dollars in grant money. Findlay had to repay $144,000 it received in 2008-09 for reconstructing part of Lincoln Street. The cost of the project was $1.2 million.
The county repaid $127,000 for two projects partially funded with a grant in 2008 and 2009. The grant paid $85,000 toward the replacement of a bridge on Hancock County 203 in Pleasant Township. The total cost of the project was $180,000.
The grant also paid $42,000 toward the replacement of a bridge on Hancock County 23 in Washington Township. The total cost of that project was $200,000.
The city and county had executed contracts and broken ground for the projects months before the state gave environmental clearance for the projects to begin. All parties agreed the infractions were procedural, but the consequences were some of the harshest in the Hancock Regional Planning Commission’s history.
Cordonnier said it is most likely that the Ohio Department of Development will conduct audits every two years now.
Separately, the commission elected officers for 2014 on Wednesday. Christie Ranzau will serve as president. Michael Couchot was named vice president. Jody O’Brien will continue as treasurer and Ray Scholes will serve as commission secretary.
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