County continues to make strides

Commissioners discuss state of the county

By Cecilia Fox - [email protected]

MIAMI COUNTY — At the 2015 State of the County, the Miami County commissioners discussed the strides the county has made in upgrading its technological resources.

“It’s an exciting time to work in Miami County government. There’s so much happening now with technology and improvements to our infrastructure,” Commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien said. “Over the past four years, there has been a lot accomplished and we’re very proud of that.”

The commissioners touched on the significant upgrades to technology that have been made in the last year, as well as infrastructure improvements. They also pointed out that this is the sixth straight year since 2008 that the county’s budget is in the black.

The county has focused on bringing its systems up to date and offering better services to residents, including online county records, receiving property tax bills via email, and a new paperless building inspection system.

“There have been major strides across the board in the last few years by all departments,” Commissioner Richard Cultice said.

The IT Department united the county’s courts on one server, which allows for better communication between departments, O’Brien said. Many county court records are now available online thanks to the upgrades, he explained.

The judges are also working with the department to make technological upgrades to the courtrooms.

The West Central Juvenile Detention Center is now the first building in the county to have wireless internet access, O’Brien shared. In the future, more county buildings will have wireless internet, he said.

“That facility has a lot of counselors, a lot of teachers who teach the kids while they’re out there, and having wireless in the facility is going to help with all that,” he said.

The recorder’s office has also made new technological advances, including electronic records of all document types. This will make sure that documents are filed faster, O’Brien said.

The county’s communication center was recently awarded the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) certificate of accreditation, O’Brien said. The CALEA standards are internationally recognized standards for public safety communications. This is the center’s first CALEA accreditation award.

The center is now one of only five accredited communication centers in the state, the rest of which are in the Miami Valley, O’Brien pointed out.

The commissioners also recently approved $2.5 million in upgrades to the Communication Center radio system and is working on an agreement with the state’s MARCS network, O’Brien said. Ohio MARCS is a multi-agency radio communication system which will allow firefighters and police officers to communicate more efficiently.

The county has also made improvements to the Courthouse and Safety Building HVAC systems, as well as to the Hobart Center for County Government, O’Brien said.

The commissioners have been in talks with the sheriff’s office, examining the budget to determine whether or not to open a third pod at the incarceration facility to house female inmates. The county is currently housing those prisoners in Shelby County. That decision is still to come, Cultice said.

“Whatever we do, we want to do it right,” he said.

The municipal court tries more than 18,000 cases a year, generating about $3 million in revenue, Commissioner Jack Evans said. The county keeps $785,000, while the rest goes back to the local municipalities.

Miami County Treasurer Jim Stubbs held a delinquent tax lien sale this year, bringing in more than $1.5 million. Of that, $1 million went to local schools, Evans said.

Because of the recent anti-trust settlement with road salt providers, the county has received $36,540. About $17,000 of that settlement will be credited to the municipalities that buy salt from the county, Evans said.

“The county continues to be a strong, vibrant county,” Evans said.

Commissioners discuss state of the county

By Cecilia Fox

[email protected]

Reach Cecilia Fox at [email protected]

Reach Cecilia Fox at [email protected]

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