By Zach Gase
Earlier this week, the Ohio Senate approved legislation authorizing joint boards of county commissioners to conduct routine business via teleconference or videoconference.
State Sen. Dave Burke, R-Marysville, introduced Senate Bill 207 after county commissioners in Seneca and Sandusky counties expressed a desire to hold proceedings over the phone or video.
Every spring, commissioners go to the six counties that Seneca County has joint ditches with, and have short meetings with those counties' commissioners to affirm maintenance assessments, Commissioner Jeff Wagner said.
Wagner said many counties do these assessments over the phone because the meetings only take a couple of minutes, but commissioners have been advised not to do this because it is illegal, he said.
"It's just not the best use of our time to go up there (to other counties)," Commissioner Ben Nutter said. "And the hearings take literally minutes, two or three minutes. It takes longer to do the roll call vote."
Seneca County resident Susan Smith suggested commissioners pursue legislation to allow them to do the assessments via teleconference, Wagner said.
If the bill does not pass in the Ohio House of Representatives by the end of the year, it will die and have to be proposed again next year.
"It's going to be tight," Wagner said. "Hopefully they can get it done."
In new business, the board approved:
An appropriation adjustment of $1,000 within the Maintenance & Repair Fund.
A fund transfer of $4,364.07 to be made to the Maintenance & Repair Fund.
A decrease of $7,493.29 to the permanent appropriations for the 2011 Paving Fund.
An appropriation adjustment of $85 for the Public Assistance Fund.
An appropriation adjustment of $2,920 within the General Fund.
An appropriation adjustment of $13,767 within the General Fund.
A supplemental appropriation of $200 for the Poll Worker Training Grant Fund.
A supplemental decrease of $2,000 to the permanent appropriations for the Clerks Computer Research Fund.