By Mike Sherfy, KnoxPages.com Reporter
MOUNT VERNON - Matthew Kurtz, Director of Knox County Job and Family Services met briefly—but productively—with the Knox County Commissioners on Monday. He presented them with a set of quotes for repaving parking lots and driveways at the Children’s Resource Center, the County Water Department, and surrounding county buildings that proved significantly higher than was expected—which had been based on the cost of sealing it alone. It was decided to have the County Engineer draw up a proposal and open the project up for bids.
Kurtz also put forward his staff for commendation and appreciation. Because there was some confusion over the way the state had put out notices, a fair number of people had been dropped from Ohio’s Medicaid rolls earlier this year. A lawsuit was filed and, on June 19th, the state asked that counties put those clients back onto the rolls. Kurtz noted that his staff had to reinstate roughly 375 Medicaid recipients and that they had completed the work in just three days—making Knox County the first in the state to fully comply with the request. The Commissioners extended their thanks to all involved for acting so quickly and effectively.
Kurtz then discussed some issues relating to the Knox Area Transit program. He briefly described the plan to run low-cost county-wide shuttles for summer events such as the Danville Turkey Festival, Centerburg USA Days, and Mount Vernon’s Dan Emmett festival—setting up Park-and-Ride locations at area schools and public areas to make travel easier. He also pointed out that there had been some unanticipated maintenance expenses due to a “rash of failures”—including three buses with transmission issues and another with major engine problems. Even though two of the affected vehicles are slated for decommission this year, repair costs remained slightly higher than expected on the other two. Kurtz then presented two proposals for the Commissioners’ approval.
In the first, he raised the issue of advertising on KAT vehicles—and on screens inside them. That was an issue that had been placed on the back-burner by KAT officials earlier this year but, in hopes of addressing the topic more readily, he asked the Commissioners whether they believed reaching out to Heartland Productions—to engage their services in selling ad-space and produce content on a revenue-sharing basis—would be worthwhile. The commissioners assented, noting that they “have the expertise and the time to do it right”. Kurtz said that he would confirm that ODOT regulations were in order and move that process forward.
In the second proposal, Kurtz raised the prospect of selling decommissioned county-owned vehicles—at Blue Book value—directly to Perry County rather than listing them for auction. He pointed out that ODOT regulations allowed this and proceeds would go toward the purchase of replacement vehicles. The commissioners readily agreed to the proposal—noting that the auction sites offered no equivalent price guarantees and that, if it helps out Perry County, there seemed no good reason not to sell to them.
With that, twelve minutes after the meeting began, participants went into an Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter.