By JIM MAURER
Hancock County commissioners approved a contract Thursday for about $186,000 with Great Lakes Community Action Partnership, previously called the Wood Ottawa Sandusky and Seneca counties Community Action Commission, to handle administration of a Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) grant.
The program provides funds to improve and provide affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents. The contract cost was $220,000 last year.
The commissioners also approved a memorandum of understanding with the City of Findlay for Tyler Technologies/New World, a Plano, Texas-based company, to install a computer-aided dispatch and report-writing system.
It’s the final piece of a project between the Findlay school district, county and city governments to connect computer services such as email. Initiated by the school district, the three entities shared the cost.
The work will connect county courthouse offices to the city building and the Hancock County jail.
The commissioners are expected to consider a resolution next week for Vaughn Industries, which handled the initial installation, to complete the work for about $40,000.
The funds are in addition to the original $388,000 the county earmarked for the project. There may have been change orders for additional expenses since 2017 when the commissioners agreed to fund a portion of the work.
Separately, an increase of 65 cents per day to house Findlay prisoners in the Hancock County jail was approved by the commissioners. The daily cost per inmate increased from $103.79 to $104.44.
A majority of the prisoners housed in the 98-bed jail are the city’s financial responsibility.
In a related matter, while bids will be sought this month for sliding door replacement on some cells at the county jail, the work will not be done in March, as stated previously.
Commissioner President Tim Bechtol said the state Department of Corrections has to give project approval and there is a backlog of orders for the materials.
The commissioners also met with personnel from DLZ, a Columbus-based architecture and engineering firm, to discuss the process and timeline for a jail expansion. The company specializes in jail construction/expansion.
Eric Ratts, the firm’s principal architect, said the design would take about six months, bids would take about two months and construction would take about 16 months. So it would take about two years from the start of the process to construction completion.
At a separate meeting later Thursday, the commissioners met with Leah Cole, director, and Nigel Snelling, board president, with the Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardians ad Litem program, which deals with children in the court system because of abuse, neglect, delinquency, divorce and juvenile custody.
The organization received a 20 percent funding reduction from the United Way of Hancock County this year. The nonprofit is seeking additional funds from the county.
While the agency’s funding is down, its number of cases just in January has increased during the past three years, they said. In January 2017, there were 109; in January 2018, there were 131; and this year there were 202.
The need for funding is greater now, she said, because of the increase in heroin and opioid abuse/addiction among parents and guardians. Children are to be placed in foster or other care, such as with a relative.
The commissioners took no action on the request, but are expected to discuss it further.
Separately, the commissioners approved the sale, or disposal, of six rolloff containers at Litter Landing which are not usable, and phone system components no longer necessary because of a new county phone system.
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