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Local Medina County News

Home repair loans available; $5,000 minimum, $50,000 maximum

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    John Burke, Medina County treasurer, unveiled the Fix-It Funds Program on Tuesday at the Medina County commissioners meeting. Homeowners can borrow money to fix up their houses at interest rates up to 2 percent below Westfield Banks current rate.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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    Medina County Commissioners Colleen Swedyk, left, Pat Geissman and Bill Hutson, right, passed a resolution Tuesday proclaiming May as Older Americans Month. Laura Toth, center, executive director of the Office for Older Adults, and Ron Bischof, trustee in Montville Township, second from right, help celebrate the occasion.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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MEDINA — If repairs are needed on your home, Medina County Treasurer John Burke might have a plan.

He has kicked off the annual Fix-It Funds Program for homeowners. It offers a low-interest, fixed-rate home improvement loan authorized by Medina County commissioners.

“A lot of people qualify for this loan,” Burke said Tuesday.

There is no income limit to those applying for the loans through Westfield Bank.

The minimum amount to borrow is $5,000 and the most is $50,000.

Burke said there are only two limitations on the loans: County residents can’t be delinquent on their property taxes and the value of their homes can’t be more than $250,000. He said of the roughly 59,000 homes in Medina County, roughly 91 percent are appraised at $250,000 or lower.

He said about $750,000 was made available through the program last year.

The loans can be used for windows, doors, siding, sidewalk or driveway, decks, roofs, porches and steps, painting the house, gutters and downspouts, additions and chimneys.

On the interior, it can be used for air conditioning, bathrooms, carpeting, flooring, hot water tank, lighting, plumbing, electrical and painting, among other things.

Burke said the only things it can’t be used on are things that aren’t permanent improvements, such as above-ground pools and satellite dishes.

He said the program started in 2002. About $13.8 million has been loaned to about 1,000 residents since the program started.

“It’s been a very good low-interest loan program,” Burke said.

Loan dollars do not come from county coffers. The county invests in Westfield’s money markets and the loans are issued from the proceeds.

Burke said it’s an equity loan that is dependent on the applicant’s credit rating.

Burke said most equity loans offer money with about a 7 percent interest rate. Applicants can get about 2 percent off that rate with the fix-it program.

“It’s about 2 percent below the bank’s normal rate,” he said. “If you’re looking to make repairs, this is probably one of the least expensive home loans you’re going to be able to get.”

One reason the county gets behind the loan is the repairs increase the value of the homes, which in turn increases its tax rate.

This program has been given national recognition, Burke said. His office received an Eagle Award for best practices by the national county elected officials’ organization IACREOT for the Fix-It program.

Applications are available at Westfield branches in Medina, 4015 Medina Road, and Westfield Center, 2 Park Circle. They can contact Cheryl Murin at cherylmurin@westfield-bank.com or at (330) 764-6091.

Residents can also call Burke at (330) 725-9746.

In other news:

  • Commissioners thanked Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio House of Representatives for supporting state indigent defense reimbursement.
    They called on the Ohio Senate to approve the proposal at the appropriate time.
    County Administrator Scott Miller said previously he expects 75 percent reimbursement for fiscal year 2020 for Medina County (about $500,000). Then, by fiscal year 2021, the state should pay 100 percent (about $625,000).
    “It will depend on how many assigned defense cases (in the county court system),” Miller said.
    Commissioner Pat Geissman said county budgets have been strained for decades when the state mandated that counties must provide legal counsel to indigent defendants.
    Commissioners applauded DeWine for listening to county budgetary concerns and addressing indigent defense costs in his budget. The Ohio House increased the indigent defense appropriation by $35 million in 2021.
  • Members of SustainEd presented its community garden project to commissioners. Founder Staci Banker said the nonprofit is trying to raise funds for the project, located at the corner of Liberty and Jefferson streets. She said the group needs about $7,000 to build the raised beds, put up fencing and to purchase fruits and vegetables.
    “I think it will be an asset to the community,” Commissioner Colleen Swedyk said.
    Baker made a commitment to keep it attractive and visually appealing.
    The plan is for 10 beds this summer and to add at least 10 more in 2020.
    The county is expected to lease the area to the group for about a $1 a year. It wants the group to get liability insurance to protect it and the county.
  • Commissioners applauded the Office for Older Adults for May being Older Americans Month.
    They want to support older adults, their families, and caregivers and acknowledging their many valuable contributions to the society.
  • Retiring Westfield Center Village Police Chief Kent Patterson was commended for his 47 years in law enforcement. The last 19 years have been in Westfield. He was also a member of the Ohio Highway Patrol.
  • The county renewed its lease agreement with the Educational Center of Medina County at the Professional Building, 120 W. Washington St. The rent is $16,212 a year.
  • Commissioner authorized the purchase of a permanent standby caterpillar C18 diesel generator for the Kenneth W. Hotz Water Reclamation Facility. The total cost of the generator and delivery will be $123,197.
  • Commissioners appointed or reappointed five members to the Medina County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board. They are Stuart Root replacing Dennis Langdon, term expires June 30, 2022; Dennis Hanwell reappointed, term expires June 30, 2023; Thomas Miller reappointed, term expires June 30, 2023; Melissa Pearce reappointed, term expires June 30, 2023; Lou DeLoss replacing William Laux; term expires June 30, 2023.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.


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