EATON — The Preble County Board of Commissioners will be setting a date for next year’s Commissioners’ Ball. Commissioner Chris Day brought the topic up during a meeting on Wednesday, July 17.
The annual ball was canceled for the current year, with the intention of throwing a fundraiser for the Expo Addition Project. Commissioner Rodney Creech proposed the idea, stating he did not want to ask the same people to donate money twice this year. The Expo fundraiser has not yet been scheduled.
Day mentioned, he would like to see the Commissioners’ Ball back for 2020, as it brings a lot of money to charities who do work in Preble County.
“I look at the Commissioners’ Ball — if you look at the money we have put back into the community, that is huge,” Day said. “We need to set that [date] now for next year. I guess I am very disappointed that we are not doing one this year, because there are charities that are going to lose money. I think the Commissioners’ Ball has done a lot for charities in our county as a whole and I do not want to see that discontinued. I want to see that legacy continue after all three of us are gone.”
Creech added, they always planned to bring the Commissioners’ Ball back, but wanted to take a break to raise money for the Expo Addition. He noted, they can still plan the fundraiser for September or October.
Day asked the board to think of appropriate dates during the Fall of 2020.
The board also continues to discuss where to house the Board of Elections and the recent Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) assessment the Board of Elections underwent. The commissioners were notified, if Board of Elections are to stay in the Preble County Courthouse (even possibly moving down to the basement of the courthouse), certain updates would need to be done.
“If they are here, we have to make the place ADA compliant, if they are not, we don’t have to make any changes,” Creech said.
Commission Clerk Kim Keller countered, “We don’t have to make it ADA compliant, but it would be nice if we did.”
Commissioner Denise Robertson added, she believes they would have to fix the new ramp, since it is an improvement, but that is the only thing she believes they would have to fix. The board was told that the entirety of the courthouse does not have to be fixed for ADA compliance, because different offices have online access, which makes them accessible. Robertson noted, there is a way to vote without ever leaving your house.
“Bottom line is, they can say all they want, but they have outlets to vote on alternative methods,” Day said. “The biggest problem I have is because somebody asked me yesterday why I’m ‘against’ Board of Elections. I’m not against the Board of Elections, I’m against assuming $30,000 to $40,000 annually to our own budget for them to be housed in a building for themselves. That is it, it is a financial thing. I know they would love to be in their own building, everybody in this building would love to be out in their own little world.”
Robertson added, “They need more space. We need to figure out how we can help them, in the most economic way.”
Day noted, if the county has to spend money making any building ADA compliant, they should spend it at the courthouse, since they intend to use it for years to come.
According to Creech, if they keep Board of Elections upstairs in the courthouse, they have to fix a ramp, but if they move them down to the basement, there is a long list of items that would need to be updated — including the elevator.
The board also discussed the Preble County Sheriff’s Department and recent requests Sheriff Mike Simpson made.
According to Commission Clerk Keller, Simpson asked for quotes on three outside doors he would like to be painted. That quote came in at $1,500, money which he indicated the Commissioners Office would be providing. Keller added, she was not aware of discussion indicating the Commission Office would be providing funds for outside door painting.
“He should have some money left over for the locks, we figured in the doors and locks,” Commissioner Creech said. “It should be in the Capital Improvement on the doors, locks, and upgrades.”
Keller asked if she should transfer the money to the Sheriff’s Department, but Creech responded, “We will worry about that when we get there, but I know we budgeted extra money for that.”
Keller also received a letter from Simpson to increase pay rates for deputy sheriffs and corrections officers. Deputy sheriff’s rate would increase to $19 per hour and the corrections officer would increase to $16 an hour.
“Again, I do not remember any discussion about it going up, except for the first of the year, when he submitted his rates,” Keller said.
Creech responded, the board did tell Sheriff Simpson to move forward with pay increases. However, both Commissioner Day and Commissioner Robertson thought the pay rates had already been increased.
“I just don’t want this to look like we’re delaying anything, because we approved this change. We thought it was done,” Robertson said. “We told him it was okay, so it’s not our fault the letter didn’t come.”
The board noted receipt of the letter from Sheriff Simpson.
In other business:
•The board authorized an expenditure of $2,500 for insurance deductible for a damaged sheriff’s cruiser.
•The board authorized an expenditure of $26,961 for three month rental of a landfill dump truck.
•The board noted receipt of a professional service agreement with Simmons Group in the amount of $10,500 for the Commission Office.
The Preble County Board of Commissioners meets every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Preble County Courthouse, unless noted otherwise.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH