County pays for removal of storage tanks

By JIM MAURER
STAFF WRITER

Underground storage tanks will be removed from 136 N. Main St., a building recently purchased by the county, after the Hancock County commissioners approved a resolution Thursday to have the work done by TTL Associates, Toledo.

The contract is for $47,025. Once the tanks are removed, the building will be demolished as part of the flood-reduction efforts.

Separately, last month’s flood has prompted the commissioners to extend the completion date for the replacement of the Osborn Avenue bridge by three days. Work was expected to be completed by mid-October, according to the contract.

The more than $2 million project is being done by R.G. Zachrich Construction, Defiance.

Federal highway funds will pay about $1.9 million, and the county will pay the remainder. The county’s share will be paid with motor vehicle tax and gasoline tax funds.

Separately, three Community Housing Impact and Preservation grants, totaling $39,187, were approved. Hancock Regional Planning Commission oversees the grants, which provide low- and moderate-income families with funds for housing improvements.

Separately, Commissioner Tim Bechtol said he researched a question from Tuesday’s hearing on a proposed 0.75 percent, 20-year sales tax issue which voters would decide in November. A resident questioned why construction has been allowed in the flood plain.

Bechtol said there is nothing in the Ohio Revised Code about buildings not being constructed in a flood plain. It is more of a zoning issue with the city and townships, he said.

There is no residential building code in Findlay. Commercial building code regulations are handled by the Wood County Building Department, which contracts with multiple area counties to offer the service.

The total sales tax collected in Hancock County is now 6.75 percent. The state gets 5.75 percent, and the county collects a total of 1 percent, through two half-percent sales taxes.

Commissioner Brian Robertson said Thursday the county dedicates 0.75 percent of its 1 percent sales tax to county operations, the lowest of surrounding counties.

The remaining 0.25 percent is used for flood-reduction efforts. Hancock County is the only county statewide which has dedicated a portion of its sales tax to a non-operational fund, according to the commissioners.

One of the county’s half-percent sales taxes expires at the end of next year, after 10 years in effect. Half of that tax revenue, 0.25 percent, goes to county operations, and the rest goes to flood reduction.

The commissioners have proposed putting a 20-year, 0.75 percent sales tax on the November ballot to replace the expiring 0.50 percent tax. Under the proposal, 0.25 percent would continue to go to flood reduction, 0.25 percent would continue to go to county operations, and the additional 0.25 percent would be used for capital improvements, such as a jail expansion and construction of a county office building.

The new tax would be effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Construction would be funded over 20 years, which is why the proposed tax would be longer than the current one.

The office building would eliminate the need to lease space for several county departments. It is estimated the county would save $4.4 million in lease payments over 20 years.

The proposed November ballot language would not list flood reduction as a use for the tax funds. The commissioners must pass a separate resolution to dedicate funds for flood reduction, which they plan to do.

Maurer: 419-427-8420
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