Commissioners discuss PCAA building, legal issues

By Kelsey Kimbler -

PREBLE COUNTY — The Preble County Commissioners continue to discuss the Preble County Art Association (PCAA) building located on Hillcrest Drive. During a meeting on Wednesday, March 11, PCAA Executive Director Vicky Fanberg asked the board for an update.

“I just wanted to stop in this morning and check what progress is happening. I know last week we requested to see if we can get the lease taken up to the Recorder’s Office to make sure it was recorded. I know also [Commissioner Rodney Creech] put forth trying to get the bid packets ready for today,” she said.

Commission President Denise Robertson answered, “We are no further today than we were last week. We are in the process of taking care of all those things.”

“Last week I did ask for a goal, can we set up a time frame? I think that’s what most people do,” Commissioner Creech said. “If we put our gumption in the right direction, I think we can get this done. Let’s set a realistic time frame.”

Robertson explained they didn’t know they had to have the lease recorded. She then asked how long it would take to complete the bid packets.

Commission Clerk Kim Keller further explained, there has been a lot going on in the office and CDBG was upcoming still.

“This is not the only thing we are working on in this office,” Robertson said.

“I understand, but it can be done. If we want it to be done, it can be done,” Creech said.

Robertson countered, it will be done. She asked again for a reasonable time frame for Keller to complete the bid packets.

Keller asked for a couple of weeks and Robertson suggested a month.

“We’re not necessarily pushing and saying this needs to happen tomorrow — though we would love that it did – I think what we don’t want to see is it go on for eight months, nine months, ten months, and still no movement, because I feel like that’s whats been happening the past couple of years. We just want a time frame to know what to expect,” Fanberg said.

Robertson explained, she’s hesitating to set a date, because she knows people will “hold them to” that date.

“We’re making progress, we’re doing things behind the scenes that you haven’t seen yet. We’re working on it,” she said.

Keller asked if April 1 would be a sufficient timeline and Creech told her it was up to her, he was just looking for a realistic date it could be done by.

“We’ll figure out a reasonable time frame we can work with,” Robertson said. “It’s on our plate and we are working on it. That is the best I can tell you.”

This was not the only time the situation was discussed during the meeting. Preble County Prosecuting Attorney Martin Votel also reviewed legal issues with the Preble County Commissioners. One of those issues was the request PCAA made for the original lease to be recorded in the Recorder’s Office.

“They were in here requesting recording of the lease. It has not been recorded,” Commission Chris Day said.

Robertson added, “The original lease was not recorded on the deed so it is not officially encumbered as of right now. They are requesting a copy of the original lease and they are requesting us to send it to the Recorder’s [Office].”

Commission Clerk Kim Keller said, they wanted the Commission Office to either record it or issue a certified copy Preble County Art Association could have recorded.

“I don’t see any reason not to oblige by that request,” Votel said.

“My question is, number one, if it hasn’t been recorded by now, it is kind of a moot point,” Day said.

“I don’t know that it is a moot point,” Votel said. “The purpose of recording an instrument in the Recorder’s Office is to give constructive notice to all parties who would have an interest in that property that it is encumbered in thus in such fashion, so the fact that lease has not been recorded until now, there could be legal import at the point of sale whether that lease has been recorded and whether people are considered to have been given constructive notice.

“I don’t see any reason not to grant the request. If they want a certified copy and they want to file the interest, I see no reason why simply not to grant the request.”

Commissioner Robertson asked how to certify a copy and Votel responded it would be notarized.

“What they want is they don’t want any argument in the future from this body that that is not a full and accurate copy of the active lease between the parties. That is why they’re putting the ball in your court to certify it is fair and accurate, so they head off any argument in the future,” Votel explained.

Votel also discussed the possibility of video recording the Commissioners’ meetings and uploading them on YouTube for the community to view.

Commissioner Creech explained he was checking legally to see what they could do regarding the method of recording.

“There are no legal requirements, you can do whatever you want,” Votel said.

Creech added, he was concerned with the legality of closed captioning not being accurate if the board was to post videos on YouTube.

“You would have to check on this, but three or four years ago there was a new law that if you video public meeting it has to [have] closed captions. It is not about the audio portion, it is about the video portion,” he said. “Our question was, if we would go YouTube, which is very affordable, and [the closed captioning] is wrong, is there an issue?”

Votel answered, “I can tell you right now, no. There is no closed caption that is 100 percent accurate.”

He added, there is no transcription service that provides 100 percent accurate closed caption nor is there a law that requires anyone to have closed captioning be a certain percent accurate.

“I think the fact that Hamilton County does it answers your question,” Votel said.

“That is all we wanted to make sure we were cool with that,” Creech said.

Commission Clerk Kim Keller clarified, the video recording would not be the official minutes of the meeting. They would still keep the audio recording as the official minutes of the meeting, but the video would be a courtesy to the community to increase accessibility.

The Preble County Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Preble County Courthouse, unless noted otherwise.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH