An agreement for inmate health care at the Hancock County Justice Center was approved Thursday by the Hancock County commissioners.

The $424,029 per year contract is for two years and is renewable annually for three additional years. The contract includes $67,987 to provide nighttime nursing care for 25 hours weekly.

Sheriff’s Capt. Ryan Kidwell, who oversees jail operations, reviewed the contract and the additional option with the county prosecutor’s office before approval was recommended to the commissioners.

The contract is with Wellpath, Nashville, Tennessee, previously known as Correct Care Solutions. It’s the same company which has provided the service last year.

The commissioners organized for the 2020 with Commissioner Mark Gazarek appointed president, Commissioner Brian Robertson vice president and Commissioner Tim Bechtol the third member.

Separately, Nichole Coleman, executive director of Hancock County Veterans Service office, was given approval to renew a lease for space at 1100 E. Main Cross St., Riverview Executive Suites, through December.

Adam Witteman, of the county auditor’s office, presented a document certifying the year-end 2019 county finances. The county had a general fund cash balance at year-end 2019 of more then $5.6 million, an unencumbered general fund balance of more than $5 million, more than $23.4 million in other sources and a total available of more than $28.5 million. The county’s total in all funds is more than $140 million.

Later Thursday, the commissioners met with Randall Galbraith, director of Hancock County Department of Job and Family Services, and representatives of the state Department of JFS to review the latest child protection oversight and evaluation.

The county agency received high marks for timely completion of screening decisions, no safety concerns for children placed by the department, timely and appropriate goals set, recognizing the importance of children being placed with relatives when possible, completion of comprehensive assessments of parents’ and caregivers’ needs, and coordination between the agency and school districts attended by the youngsters.

At the top of the areas for improvement cited was the staff turnover and high caseloads per staff member.

Case workers should have a recommended 10-15 cases, but Hancock County employees handle about 30 cases, Galbraith said.

Also, Courtney Comstock, director of Hancock County Solid Waste Management District, provided information related to the purchase of a used forklift, to replace a model which quit working recently.

Prices received from three companies were $21,745, $24,400 and $26,650. She recommended the lowest price, from Anderson Material Handling, Toledo, but was to check the specifications with the company before the commissioners make a decision.

The expense would be paid with funds generated by landfill fees and earmarked for the solid waste district.

She said 22 modular roll-off containers, placed either full-time or part-time at locations throughout the county, provide adequate opportunity for residents to recycle.

Separately, the commissioners approved an agreement for administrative fair housing services with Hope House, Findlay, for Hancock County fiscal year 2020 Community Housing Impact and Preservation Program (CHIP) grant. Cost is $5,000.

The commissioners also approved a memorandum of understanding for Habitat for Humanity new building activity, utilizing previously approved CHIP grant funds received by Hancock Regional Planning Commission.

Maurer: 419-427-8420

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