By JIM MAURER
STAFF WRITER

The Hancock County commissioners on Thursday unanimously denied a petition by McComb Council to change the village’s boundary lines to separate it from Pleasant Township.

If approved, such a separation apparently would have been a first in Ohio.

McComb had filed a petition in June, and the commissioners heard from village and township officials about the issue before making the decision Thursday.

The village said it wanted to stop having its residents pay taxes to the township, since village residents do not receive services from the township.

The township said the separation would cause it to lose tax revenue.

Questions were raised about an agreement for cemetery operations, and funding of a joint fire district that serves the area. Concerns also were expressed about unforeseen issues which could arise from the separation.

Neither the township trustees nor McComb Mayor Charles Latta wanted to comment on the decision Thursday.

Separately Thursday, the commissioners approved a resolution by a 2-1 vote, with Commissioner Mark Gazarek voting no, to contract with Six Disciplines Consulting Services, Findlay, to oversee development of a strategic plan for the county.

A one-time payment of $15,000 will cover the plan.

“There are no plans for other services” from the company, Commissioner President Brian Robertson said. He said the payment would likely be from capital funds.

Gazarek said the commissioners have told groups they could not fund various requests, including Raise the Bar, a workforce development effort, with whom the county had signed a five-year contract to commit $30,000 annually. The commissioners did not provide funds this year.

Gazarek also said the county jail needs attention after voters turned down a levy to fund jail expansion.

Gazarek said he checked with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, which provides services and support statewide, and was told no county uses an outside agency for strategic planning. He said the 14 elected Hancock County officials are responsible for such planning.

Commissioner Tim Bechtol said “strategic planning is more important than ever.”

In a prepared statement after the meeting, Robertson said, “Hancock County officials continue to deal with several complex issues… To better move issues forward that impact our community, Hancock County officials will be contracting an outside entity to gather the specific needs of each Hancock County office.

“This will allow a collective overview of immediate, mid-term and long-term needs for public review prior to any formal action being considered. The outcomes of this process-driven approach will better prioritize the collective needs of the community for strategic planning purposes.

“County officials will continue to work with our local community partners as it relates to the many needs the county is required to facilitate.”

Separately, the commissioners approved an “expedited” annexation of nearly 37 acres from Marion Township into the city of Findlay. The agricultural property, at Crystal Avenue and East Bigelow Avenue/Hancock County 95, is owned by Stewart and Shelly Hengsteler of Castle Rock, Colorado, and Todd Hengsteler of Chicago, Illinois. Eleven adjoining property owners already signed off on the annexation.

The property is adjacent to where Autoliv Nissin Brake Systems America is constructing a warehouse and plant at the southwest corner of Bigelow Avenue and Bright Road, which is expected to open this fall.

Earlier this year, the Marion Township trustees rejected a rezoning request for the property to allow wind turbines to be installed at the site.

Separately, the commissioners approved a resolution for a memorandum of understanding with the Maumee Watershed Conservancy District for the “benching” project to widen the banks of the Blanchard River in Findlay to reduce flooding. The memorandum allows the county to provide funds from its flood-reduction account and create a purchase order for the project.

Helms and Sons Excavating, Findlay, was the low bidder for the work at more than $6.08 million.

A similar resolution was passed by Findlay City Council this week.

Steve Wilson, project manager for the conservancy district, said $5.5 million will be used from the flood-reduction account and Findlay will provide $600,000 for sanitary sewer work related to the project.

Separately, bids were opened for replacement of three boilers in the Hancock County jail. Marlin P. White and Sons, Fremont, was the apparent low bidder at $178,755. The project was estimated at $250,000.

The work will be done in October.

Other bids were: Bayes Mechanical, Perrysburg, $183,700; Warner Mechanical, Fremont, $215,850; and Titan Mechanical, Perrysburg, $239,300.

Also, the commissioners approved two resolutions for one-year continuation of contracts with Job and Family Services for kinship caregiver services and family preservation and reunification services. The county department contracts with the Family Resource Center for the services. The contract, currently $24,000, expires Sept. 30. The new contracts will cost $24,500 each.

Maurer: 419-427-8420
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