Council considering future of clerk/ treasurer position
By Charles Prince
HEBRON - Village council members want to hear from residents before making a decision on eliminating the elected clerk/treasurer position for an appointed fiscal officer.
A change in state law several years ago gives statutory villages the option to continue the previously mandated elected position of clerk/treasurer or to move to an appointed fiscal officer.Former Clerk/Treasure Vicki Fulk's guilty plea last month to one count of embezzlement prompted the discussion.
Council President Annelle Porter brought up the issue April 11 after Village Solicitor Wes Untied outlined the options. "I think this job should become an employment position," she said. There are no specific experience or education requirements for an elected clerk, Porter added. Since the clerk/treasurer is elected, there is little oversight including when and how many hours are worked, yet the position carries great responsibility.
"There is no minimum hours they have to work," Council member Erin Finkes added. "I am totally in agreement with establishing a village fiscal officer."
Porter said the change isn't reactionary but rather a reaction to the complexity of the village's finances. "$14 million (annual budget) is complex," Mayor Clifford Mason agreed.
Council can create a job description and expect more with a fiscal officer,council member Ray Guinsler said.
"The expenditure for a qualified person might be higher, but we would have more control," Porter added. "I'm ready to propose this."
Council member Bob Gilbert wanted to discuss it at the combined committees meeting Monday night.
Monday night Gilbert said he believes residents should have a voice in the decision. "I think the person should live in Hebron," he added. Mason said council could set a residency requirement for the fiscal officerposition, giving non-residents six months to move into the village. Council could also waive the requirement.
Council member Scott Walters
(continued from Page 5) is concerned about a totally unqualified person winning the election. Gilbert agreed with Finkes' suggestion that they specificallyseek public input on the matter.
Village Administrator Mike McFarland will write an open letter to residents providing a specific opportunity for comment at the April 25 council meeting.
In other business Wednesday n i g h t , c o u n c i l m e m b e r s unanimously instructed the solicitor to draft a contract with MED3000 for EMS billling. MED3OOO is a national healthcare management and information technology company with Ohio operational centers in Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton. The company will handle EMS billing for the Hebron Fire Department at a charge of 6.5 percent of the amount collected. State law sets a maximum of 8 percent. MED3000 will bill the insurance companies including Medicare and Medicaid whenever a patient is transported to the hospital. Residents will NOT be billed if they don't have insurance or if the insurance company pays less than the amount billed. Residents are definedas those living in the Village of Hebron and the portion of Union Township covered under contract by the Hebron Fire Department. Everyone else, including residents of the Village of Buckeye Lake and Union Township residents in the area covered by the Granville Fire Department, will be billed if they don't have insurance. No one will be denied service for inability to pay. A startup date isn't set.
Council members also unanimously suspended the three reading rule and adopted a resolution accepting the annexation of 2.0 acres from Union Township into the village. The tract is trailer part just north of the Speedway station on the east side of Ohio 79. The village will have to rezone the property once the annexation is official. A waterline line will be bored under Ohio 79 to extend village water to the trailer park.
Council members also agreed to add an alternate authorized signatory for village checks. Council recently required two signatures for each check, requiring both the mayor and acting clerk/treasurer to sign. The village administrator may sign as an alternate if the mayor or clerk/ treasurer is not available.
Police Chief James Dean said the department's new cruiser arrived early. Last year's cruiser didn't show up until July even though both were ordered off the state bid list at the same time each year. Dean said replacing one of the department's four cruisers every year is less expensive than repairing older cruisers.
Monday night, McFarland had good news for drivers tiring of the rumble strips on West Main Street. A meeting was set for Tuesday with the general contractor and paving subcontractor to discuss resurfacing. Asphalt plants are reopening after winter, he said. The existing asphalt surface will be milled down, then West Main Street will be repaved between the new curbs from High Street to Ninth Street. A l s o M o n d a y n i g h t administrative assistant Linda Nicodemus said the Bureau of Workers Compensation gave the village an award for Outstanding Safety Performance in 2006. Workers did not have a loss time accident during the year. That safety record means the village will pay lower workers compensation premiums.
Council's next regular meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25 in council chambers in the municipal complex.