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Probate Court seeks to accept credit cards

3/28/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

County Council committee also addresses Springfield, Lakemore, Green legislative items

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Probate Court customers could soon use credit cards to pay court fees.

During Summit County Council’s Rules Committee meeting March 25, Council learned the court wishes to be added to the list of those county entities already accepting credit cards.

Deputy Court Administrator Thomas Cardone said the county first enacted legislation allowing the use of credit cards in 2009, but Probate Court was not included at the time.

The court recently had a change of leadership. Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer took office this year, replacing Todd McKenney, who had been appointed to the bench when longtime Judge Bill Spicer retired.

Councilman Bill Roemer (R-at large) asked about fees that would be charged back to card users. Jason Dodson, chief of staff in the Executive’s Office, said the state auditor has ruled the fees must be charged back to the user rather than absorbed by the county.

Currently, the county’s Clerk of Courts, Juvenile Court, Fiscal Office, Building Standards and Animal Control accept credit cards.

Probate Court handles business such as estates, marriage licenses, guardianship, adoptions and name changes.

The committee recommended Council adopt the resolution.

In other business, the Planning and Economic Development Committee recommended Council adopt a resolution approving the vacation of a right-of-way located on Canton Road in Springfield. The action came following a second public hearing on the issue, which came at the request of Kern’s Home and Garden.

Springfield Trustee Dean Young attended the hearing and said the township supports the request.

“We wanted to make sure there was enough room for a pedestrian or bicycle trail through that area,” he said.

He added the vacation of the right-of-way is the first step of several that will eventually see the path developed on what was a trolley car line at one time.

The committee also recommended Council adopt a resolution to appropriate $10,000 in grant funds from the PNC Bank Foundation for the Moving Ohio Forward program. The funding will be used specifically for Lakemore and will allow for the demolition of four vacant structures.

The committee placed on second reading a resolution authorizing the Executive’s Office to enter into a financing term sheet and cooperative agreement with the city of Green and the Development Finance Authority of Summit County for the construction and financing of sanitary sewer to service the CAK International Business Park Phase III.

Dodson said the county is waiting to hear back from Green officials on the term sheet, but he added that the project is expected to go out for bids in April.

Also Monday, the Rules Committee briefly discussed an amended ordinance that would restructure the Consumer Affairs Office. The ordinance proposes putting the office under the executive, and the amendment proposes establishing an advisory board for the office that would be made up of five members, with two each from the business/finance and consumer affairs areas and one representing economically disadvantaged communities.

The committee added the amendment but kept the legislation on time.

Council also heard from Gerald Craig, executive director of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADM) Board. The board is gearing up for a levy request in the November General Election.

Craig said the board is looking closely at what happens with Medicaid in Ohio, as it will determine how much funding the board gets from the state.

“As we approach the end of our levy cycle, we are trying to position ourselves so we have maximum flexibility,” Craig said.

County Council will next meet April 1 at 4:30 p.m. for caucus, followed by the regular meeting in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, located at 175 S. Main St.

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