NAPOLEON — The Henry County Board of Developmental Disabilities met in a virtual session in compliance with amended substitute Ohio House Bill 197 last week.
The board decided not to proceed with a countywide mailing of the board’s annual report at this time. As an alternative, the board opted to make the report available on its website and direct people to this information though social media and other means.
Steve Tucker, superintendent, updated the board on the current state of operations during the COVID-19 crisis. The administration office remains open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. The board requested that the fire department determine the maximum occupancy of both the Maumee Avenue and Scott Street facilities in Napoleon. Current guidelines limit the number of people to 50% of a buildings maximum occupancy.
Employees are returning to the office on a modified schedule so as to maintain appropriate social distancing and comply with the occupancy requirement. When not in the office, employees continue to work remotely. When reporting to the office, employees are completing health assessments, including temperature checks, upon arrival. Visitors are being asked to do the same. Masks are required in common areas and when having face-to-face interactions.
Tucker explained that the board’s normal practice is to approve the next year’s budget in July. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the state budget for fiscal year 2021, Tucker recommended that the board cancel its July meeting in order to give the finance committee adequate time to account for actions at the state level.
The superintendent also noted that the board’s 1.5-mill levy is up for renewal. This levy can be placed on the ballot in November of this year or March or November of 2021. No decision was made at this time.
The board’s five-year forecast was discussed. The five-year forecast is a new requirement for county boards of developmental disabilities. Forecasts are due annually on April 1 of each year. Due to COVID-19, the due date was extended to June 12. County boards were instructed to submit forecasts based on information available at the time of the original due date and not attempt to account for the impact of COVID-19.
Tucker reported that representatives of PCS/Active Day had contacted him recently regarding the reopening of their adult day services (ADS) program. PCS/Active Day currently operates its ADS program out of the Maumee Avenue facility. Upon reopening, PCS/Active Day will consolidate operations at its Defiance facility. He noted that while the daily interaction with program participants will be greatly missed, the move will provide greater opportunities for those attending the PCS/Active Day program. The Maumee Avenue facility consists of one large room, while the Defiance facility is larger with separate rooms for different activities. PCS/Active Day will be contacting program participants over the next few weeks to notify them of the changes.
The departure of the PCS/Active Day program will free up substantial space at the Maumee Avenue facility. The board’s current lease for office space on Scott Street expires Aug. 31. The plan is to consolidate all staff at the Maumee Avenue facility. The board will realize savings of approximately $12,000 on rental and utility costs per year, as well as benefit from having employees operating out of one primary location. With remote work likely to continue into the foreseeable future there does not appear to be a need for any substantial structural modifications to the Maumee Avenue facility at this time.
Randy Barnes, Special Olympics coordinator, explained that Special Olympics Ohio has canceled all regional and state events for the remainder of 2020. Local practices will be permitted as long as established guidelines are followed. Barnes stated that this information was new and he and his assistant, Zach Meister were still assessing the situation.
Melinda Camp, Employment First manager, provided some good news by stating that previously laid-off individuals were being called back to work. Camp also presented results of a recent employment satisfaction survey which concluded that participants were very satisfied with their current employment services.
The board also approved the following contracts: Defiance County Board of Commissioners and Defiance County Family and Children First Council, renewal of the Early Intervention Service Coordination Grant for the period July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.