Richland County courthouse

Richland County Courthouse

MANSFIELD -- Richland County commissioners on Tuesday approved using $611,989 in federal CARES Act funds to digitize property records in the recorder's office, some dating back to the early 19th century.

The work, requested by Recorder Sarah Davis, would be done by Kofile, a company that helps maintain and preserve governmental public records.

The expenditure was approved unanimously by commissioners Marilyn John, Darrell Banks and Tony Vero.

It's the second significant chunk in the last two weeks approved by commissioners in expending the $2 million the county has received thus far in the first round of CARES Act funds disbursed by the state.

Commissioners have said the county could receive up to $4 million in additional CARES Act funds.

Last week, commissioners approved spending up to $500,000 to provide mobile hotspots to schools and school districts in the county to assist in online learning as the new academic year begins.

Kofile will digitize about 647,000 pages, making them available online, a process that will begin later this month and perhaps completed by the end of 2020.

It will make all recorder's office documents from 1814 available online, including mortgages dating back to 1846.

"This will help alleviate some traffic coming to the (county courthouse) and also reduce the need for staff to physically access these records, which definitely falls in line with CARES Act guidelines," Commissioner Marilyn John said.

In other action Tuesday, commissioners:

-- approved a request from Community Alternative Center Director Tom Trittschuh to apply for CARES Act grant money available to certified inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers. He said the CAC is falling about $200,000 short in projected budget revenues in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Trittschuh said the center is operating again, but only at about half capacity. It was recently certified by Medicaid and the state Mental Health Addiction Services as an in-patient treatment center, in addition to the intensive outpatient services it provides.

-- approved CARES Act expense reimbursements of $7,156 for the county engineer's office and $1,600 for the domestic relations court.

-- went into executive session to discuss hiring in the county dog warden's office. Commissioners took no action after the executive session. John said she would do additional research on the issue discussed.

-- approved an annexation request for 46.311 acres from Worthington Township into the Village of Butler. The bulk of the acreage along Resort Drive is owned by Northern Lights Resort, LLC, as well as one individual home owner.

-- hired three new, full-time case managers in the Child Support Enforcement Agency at $14 per hour. The three will fill vacant positions.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"