OTTAWA — What started out as an open meeting last week in the Putnam
County Commissioners office about potential job loss in Ottawa evolved
into potential benefits for every township and village in the county.
John Love, Vincent Schroeder and Travis Jerwers sat down on Thursday
with Village of Ottawa representatives, including Municipal Director
Jack Williams, Clerk Treasurer Barb Hermiller, Mayor Dean Meyer and
Ottawa Council President Tim Macke. The issue that prompted the 2 p.m.
meeting was the anticipated move of Putnam County Homecare and Hospice
offices from 139 Court Street, Ottawa, to 575 Ottawa Glandorf Road, the
former home of The Meadows of Glandorf which is now county-owned.
new location would mean a loss of approximately 40 jobs for Ottawa,
according to Ottawa Wastewater Director Douglas Schroeder, who brought
the situation to the attention of Williams, who in turn asked the
Commissioners for confirmation of the move as well as that of the Putnam
County Board of Elections and Putnam County Job and Family Services,
all to the Glandorf location. Williams also asked for the reason behind
According to all three commissioners, an escape from
flooding is the primary motivator for Putnam County Homecare and
Hospice. The agency’s current second and third floor office space, owned
by Doug and Karen Schroeder, is subject to accessibility issues due to
major flood events. The agency’s board of directors is also interested
in the additional space which a move to the Glandorf location offers.
Flooding and space issues are also the primary reasons behind potential
moves from county-owned buildings.
“It’s not just the flooding
here,” said Love. “It’s the inability to get in and out of town.
Homecare and Hospice is a 24/7 operation. It’s great that they moved to
the second floor, but if you can’t get to the first floor, it just isn’t
“Job and Family Services has some issues with flash
floods. The storm line isn’t big enough to drain it when there’s a lot
of rain,” said Schroeder. He and Love confirmed that the agency asked to
be moved to the county-owned Glandorf location. According to Hermiller,
the move will mean a loss of $23,000 in income tax for the Village.
“We understand that Trilogy Health Services moved both The Meadows of Putnam Acres and Glandorf to Ottawa,” explained Williams.
“So there’s going to be a net gain, isn’t there?” asked Love.
is a gain,” responded Williams, noting that The Meadows of Ottawa,
currently under construction on Putnam Parkway in Ottawa, will employ
50. “However, we did not recruit them; they came to us. I was in the
office when [former Village of Ottawa Community Development Director]
Jeff Loerke asked them, ‘Do you really want to do this? We don’t want to
be talking away from another community.’ It was their corporate
“As far as the Board of Elections, we pay a premium
price because the voting machines are there, on top of our other
insurance, because that’s a what they call a marine policy,” said Love.
He and Schroeder explained that they anticipate that those county
offices left open by the any future move will be repopulated as the
Commissioners intend to market them to prospective businesses. However,
both acknowledge that the county’s government annex is an aging building
in need of roof and wall repairs.
“OK, at least you guys
recognize that flooding is an issue,” said Williams. “So far the county
has not gone on record in support of Ottawa’s flood mitigation stuff,”
he continued, noting that Love and Jerwers have both made public
statements in support of the effort. “Is this something that you guys
can do as a resolution then, supporting the flood mitigation for the
Village of Ottawa?”
“I think we always have,” said V. Schroeder. “I can’t think of anytime we haven’t, except financially.”
“I don’t think think we’re asking for that now, but we did talk about disaster assistance,” responded Williams.
a mayor’s meeting we talked about the county having a line item in the
budget for disaster fund for the county,” said Meyer. “That would get
around. Columbus Grove, for example, does not want to support Ottawa
flooding. But if it’s in there for Putnam County, they would support a
line item for disaster relief in the county.” He added that the county’s
mayors speculated such relief could be funded by a portion of casino
money. The Ohio Department of Taxation distributes casino tax monies
monthly to each county across the state. Putnam County received $212,856
two quarterly distributions of Ohio’s gross casino revenue tax for
fiscal year 2014; July and October 2013.
concern over designating county monies for individual disaster relief.
“The county’s responsibility is to take care of county stuff. Once we
cross that line into other jurisdictions, where do you designate that
money should go?”
Love said that what was being suggested is
“something like a revolving loan fund” that would be available to all
towns, villages and townships in the county with sufficient evidence of
the need for disaster relief.
“Some of these communities like
Cloverdale could come for start-up money,” countered Williams, referring
to the widespread damage experienced by the small community during the
Nov. 17 tornado. “We have to grow as a county. We can’t afford to have
these communities die because it really doesn’t help any of us if they
can’t keep their businesses open or if they can’t grow.”
Schroeder added that he and his wife Karen have invested their own funds
in downtown Ottawa since the 2007 flood. “It is tough. As a member of
the community, as a member of the county, we need everybody to support
each other. We can’t do it all alone.”
The meeting concluded with
an agreement by the Commissioners to provide Ottawa with a formal
resolution in support of the Blanchard River flood mitigation and the
study underway by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to look into the
possibility of a revolving loan fund or some sort of monies to support
disaster relief within Putnam County, and to provide feedback as the
Village of Ottawa revises its community development plan, an effort
which was last made in 1971.