Fulton County Commissioners Discuss JFS Building Safety & Other Issues

The Jobs and Family Services Building could see its entrances change if a request from a safety committee is granted.

The Fulton County Commissioners discussed the matter at its April 12 meeting. The safety committee asked that the east door of the Detwiler Building at 604 S. Shoop Ave., be turned into an exit-only door.

he committee made the request after an active shooter drill at the building. Having one door for the staff, clients and public to use was deemed better to monitor possible threats to the facility.

The north doors are at ground level and would allow people to go upstairs inside either by stairs or the elevator, County Administrator Vond T. Hall said.

“We would have to restructure it and make it a crash bar entrance only,” Hall said.

The north side parking lot is where most of the people park, Hall said. Now they have to walk around the building to use the exterior steps to access the building.

The change would require signage to alert visitors of the east door was not an entrance any longer.

Hall will speak with the fire marshal and the county engineer to verify the fire code for entrances and exits and what the cost of the changes would be, including a crash bar. Hall will come back a later time with a plan.

The board discussed whether to continue its contract with a private company to collect court costs and fees.

The request came from Circuit Court to cancel the contract and go back to the previous system. The private company has netted $3,755.49 in eight months.

Reverting back to the old system would mean the court would send out notices for delinquencies for 30, 60 and 90 days past due before the matter would be sent to the prosecutor’s office.

While the prosecutor’s office has collected money before, it has never done anything on that scale before, Prosecutor Scott Haselman said. The office’s handling of the matter was much more hands off, he said.

“We were never involved in tracking down someone,” Haselman said.

If the county wants that kind of commitment, it will cost more than $3,700 to hire another lawyer, Haselman said.

Commissioner Bill Rufenacht asked if there was a level of nonpayment at which a judge could throw someone in jail, but the prosecutor said no one would be going to jail.

“There is no debtors’ prison,” Haselman said. “It would be a civil judgment.”

Rufenacht was surprised there is no power behind the letters sent out by the county in an attempt to collect a debt. A small-claims judgment would allow going to person’s house and seizing property and auctioning off to pay the debt, he said.

“I am surprised we don’t do that,” Rufenacht said. “Other counties do.”

“No, you have a contract with a company who does that,” Haselman said. “Lucas County has a contract with the attorney general who has a contract with a collection agency.”

The judgment part is already done, it’s collecting the money that usually ends up in collections, Haselman said.

The county doesn’t have any records to show how much the prosecutor’s office collected compared to the private company, but County Administrator Vond T. Hall will have the company’s president attend a future meeting to answer some questions.

In other actions, the commissioners:
-Acknowledged the first mailing notifying affected land owners of a hearing on a petition to clean and brush clean Branch 3e and 3e3 of Dry Creek in York Township. The hearing is set for 11 a.m. April 21 at the county building in Wauseon.

-Approved $42,343 for transportation and housekeeping services through the Area Office on Aging.

-Approved $73,353 for 84 delivered meals and 17,677 for congregate meals through the Area Office On Aging meal program.

-Approved advertising for bids for reconstructing County Road M between Road 23 and State Route 66 including replacing bridge 23.9. The bid will be due by 9:45 a.m. May 10. Bids will be opened at 9:46 a.m.

-Authorized the Fulton Senior Center to rent space at the Fulton County Fair Merchant Hall.

-Approved a contract with the Delta United Methodist Church to host the Swanton Satellite Center for 2016.


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