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Commissioners discuss expenses, EMS in West Unity meeting

WEST UNITY — The Williams County commissioners Tuesday took questions from the public as part of a program to get out into different parts of the county.

Commissioners Bart Westfall, Terry Rummel and Lewis Hilkert met at Millcreek Coffee and Cones and spoke with members of the public that attended prior to start the official business meeting, when they held their general session.

As part of that general session, the commissioners agreed to pay up to $6,747 for window tinting for the offices of Jobs and Family Services (JFS). Rummel told those gathered that expense to taxpayers was a result of the recent visit from two men from Michigan who had been going around filming in various downtown business and government windows.

“I just want to give an update, I went to JFS, where they’re putting up blinds for the privacy of our employees due to the ‘constitutional audit’ that they went through and stuck a video camera in our employees’ faces, through the windows — there’s just some sensitive stuff there that they really shouldn’t be homing in on on video cameras,” Rummel said.

“So we thought for the best interest of everybody, it was best to spend the $6,000,” he added.

Rummel said the money will come from what JFS receives from the state, but added that is still taxpayer money being spent.

“But we want to thank the people that conducted that audit for that $6,000 expense,” Rummel said.

He also said he feels there will be more such “audits” in the future, and officials are discussing how to handle them.

“There are probably more to come, and it’s the talk of the county on how we handle these audit tours when they come through town,” Rummel said.

He also suggested for future encounters that people avoid confronting such people.

“They’re just looking for somebody to get riled up, when you don’t rile up, they go away,” Rummel said.

In addition to tinting the windows for JFS, Rummel said the commissioners are considering signage in certain government offices where private areas should not be accessed.

Rummel also brought up the topic of a possible EMS levy on the fall ballot.

Westfall urged the public to attend a meeting to discuss options for a levy, which will be held Tuesday, May 7 at 7 p.m. at the East Annex building.

Rummel said EMS officials will be there to present numbers and other data concerning the EMS.

“It will be a public forum for us to get an idea of where we move forward,” Westfall said.

“One thing we need is more coverage on this end of the county,” added Hilkert.

He related the situation of a recent fatal accident in which response time for an EMS squad was about 20 minutes due to two other squads being called out for emergencies just prior to the accident.

Rummel talked about another situation in which parents of an 18-month old had to provide CPR until EMS could arrive on scene. He said that occurred in the northwest corner of the county.

He added the average run time for the entire county is around 13 minutes, while the time for those areas where an EMS station is located is three to five minutes. Westfall said the national average is five to seven minutes on response.

It was also pointed out Williams County EMS is solely funded on its own with no money currently coming from the county general fund.

Other topics the commissioners were questioned about included:

A lawsuit concerning permit work in county right of way for water lines for AquaBounty and the Village of Pioneer. Hilkert said it is their understanding the appeal will be heard in May or June, with a decision a few months later.

Progress on the former Quillen Brothers building the commissioners purchased last year.

Westfall said the building will provide storage for county records until they can be digitized, as the county is running out of space for such storage. He also said the plan is to turn the courthouse back into a courthouse, with expanded offices for courts and those that are associated with them. He added plans currently call for moving the recorder, auditor and treasurer to the new building.

This was the second Coffee with the Commissioners event, with the board meeting in Edgerton late last fall.

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