Pictured are Highland County commissioners Gary Abernathy, left, and Terry Britton. (HCP Photo/Caitlin Forsha)
Pictured are Highland County commissioners Gary Abernathy, left, and Terry Britton. (HCP Photo/Caitlin Forsha)
Highland County commissioners Terry Britton and Gary Abernathy approved several resolutions involving Highland County Job and Family Services funding, including a significant budget modification within the county’s Children Services fund, during their Wednesday, July 29 meeting.

Commission president Jeff Duncan was absent.

In the meeting, which was just over eight minutes long, commissioners approved a request from Highland County JFS for a budget modification within the Children Services fund in the amount of $771,262. They also approved four separate resolutions granting inter-county agreements for certification release and acceptance of funds between Highland County JFS and other JFS agencies:

• Lucas County, $75,000;

• Gallia County, $37,570.80;

• Franklin County, $10,443; and

• Lucas County (a second resolution), $13,654.95.

“As you can see, our JFS is partnering with a number of counties there to trade money around and make both budgets work for those counties,” Britton said. “That’s a good deal.”

These resolutions followed a similar resolution July 22 transferring $100,000 into the Children Services fund. In February, Highland County Job and Family Services Director Katie Smith reported that in December 2019, the county had 172 children in care, with placement costs of $3.4 million. As of April 8, she said the number of children in care was “about the same,” but she expected that number to increase.

Smith told The Highland County Press last week that as of July 22, there are 198 children in custody, a number she called “extremely high.”

In other discussion, Britton gave an update on repairs or upgrades underway at county buildings. Britton said that Wayne Dance has begun working on repairs to the brick around the Highland County Administration Building windows.

“We have some water damage on the brick, and we’re trying to get that taken care of,” he said. “Basically, that’s tearing the brick out from around the tops of the windows, repairing the seal and putting it back in. In the wintertime, it was causing freezing and thawing, and water was getting in there actually busting the windows.”

The county has also worked to install additional hand sanitizer dispensers in the Administration Building as well as the Highland County Courthouse. Additional dispensers will be installed in the Hi-TEC building and the Highland County Justice Center, Britton said.

Abernathy also noted during the meeting that the commissioners were wearing masks, following Governor Mike DeWine’s mandatory mask order that went into effect July 23 at 6 p.m.

“It’s supposed to cover all indoor facilities where the public is available, so we’re trying to set an example in following that,” Abernathy said. “It seems rather silly to be wearing a mask in a room that seats 100 people when there’s about eight people in it, but we’re trying to do our part to set an example.”

In other action, commissioners approved the following motions, both by a 2-0 vote:

• A resolution granting a request from the sheriff for an additional appropriation from unappropriated funds in the amount of $1,467.17; and

• A proposal for generator service at the Highland County Justice Center in the amount of $783.71, including $518.71 for major service in July and $275 for minor service in December.

Commissioners also welcomed area Boy Scout Craig Goodwin, who said he was taking notes on Wednesday’s meeting to meet the communications merit badge requirement to become an Eagle Scout. Goodwin said he has been a Scout for approximately five years.

“It’s a great organization,” Britton said. “It helps young people get into bigger and better things. That’s great.”