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Council hears title bureau considered on west side

11/28/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Summit County Clerk of Courts Office is considering opening a title office branch on the west side.

Summit County Council heard about the idea during Clerk of Court Daniel Horrigan’s budget presentation Nov. 25.

He first mentioned the possibility of opening an office in Fairlawn, but then said it could be anywhere on the west side.

“We’re looking at west-side locations, but there are some economic realities we have to face,” he said.

Currently, in addition to the main office on Tallmadge Avenue, the clerk has branch title offices in Northfield and Green.

Horrigan said he is looking at the cost per square foot, which he said is higher in the Fairlawn area. He added he has also talked with the deputy registrar at the Fairlawn Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) about collaborating. That office is located in a shopping center at the intersection of Miller Road and West Market Street.

“We just want a good location that is accessible for everyone,” Horrigan said.

In other business, Finance and Budget Director Brian Nelsen gave his monthly update on the county’s finances. Among the highlights are the county’s sales tax collections, which are up 4.71 percent over last year. This is the fourth year in a row for growth in sales tax numbers, he said.

Also, revenue from property transfer taxes is up 13.84 percent from a year ago.

He added that local government funding from the state continues to be a challenge. In addition, the real estate market did show improvement this year, but he noted that it has slowed down since summer.

Nelsen said when the year concludes, he projects revenues will be $100.3 million and expenses will be $100.9 million, meaning the county will need to use about $600,000 in reserves, which is less than he had originally projected for the year.

Looking ahead, Nelsen said next year he is projecting an increase in the amount of reserves needed due to health care increases and employee raises. In 2015, a 27th pay period also will mean the county will have to rely on reserves.

During the meeting that followed, Council adopted the 2014 full operating budgets for the Children Services Board; the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board; and Developmental Disabilities Board, which are the county’s levy-funded agencies.

In addition, Council adopted on first reading a resolution regarding the county’s natural gas aggregation program. Buckeye Energy Brokers conducted a request for proposals for the program and found the best rate is from Constellation Energy.

Jason Dodson, chief of staff for County Executive Russ Pry, said the county plans to move forward on a 20-month contract with a fixed price of around $4.17 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf). The county’s current rate is $5.393/Mcf with Direct Energy, which chose not to submit a bid.

The communities of Bath, Boston, Coventry, Copley, Richfield and Springfield participate in the program, according to the legislation.

Also during the meeting, Council adopted:

  • a resolution confirming an award of a five-year contract for legal advertising of sheriff’s sales and foreclosures with the Akron Legal News, with two five-year options to renew, by a vote of 10-1, with Councilman Frank Comunale (D-District 4) voting no;
  • a resolution declaring Nov. 30 as Small Business Saturday in Summit County, and encouraging citizens to support local small businesses for their holiday shopping; and
  • a motion to cancel the Dec. 9 regular meeting and reschedule it for Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. due to the swearing in of Councilman Nick Kostandaras (D-District 1) as president of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio. The meeting is the final one for the year.

County Council will meet for committee meetings Dec. 2 at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, located at 175 S. Main St.

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