County effort to fund Struthers reno on hold

An effort by a Warren County Commissioner to fund part of the Struthers Library Theatre renovation has been put on hold.

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston said that the office received a request from the staff at the Struthers regarding funds for the ongoing renovation project.

“This is a beautification project, a community development project,” he said, citing the building’s historical significance.

He proposed using Act 13 funds — generated by the state’s unconventional gas well fees — and said he believes giving those funds to Struthers would be an eligible use.

He then made a motion to approve an allocation of $20,000 to the project.

Commissioner Cindy Morrison expressed concern about whether that is an eligible use and has asked County Planner Dan Glotz to reach out to his contacts with the state for additional information in that area.

“The guidelines are so vague we should consult with the solicitor to look into (this) further,” Morrison said.

She said that counties were audited on those funds by the Auditor General and some questionable uses — such as county fairs — were deemed ineligible.

Morrison added that it would be “unfortunate for us in a year or two to be audited and find this use was ineligible.

She asked that the item be tabled “for our solicitor to delve further into eligible uses.”

Eggleston said he wasn’t opposed to tabling but called the Auditor General’s audit “very comprehensive” and noted that the law is “vague. In some ways it is purposefully vague.”

Commissioner Ben Kafferlin said he would also like to look at the application the county uses for people to ask for these Act 13 funds as the fund is not “tapped into often.”