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MCDAC looks to become Medina County Drug Advisory Committee

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MEDINA — The Medina County Drug Abuse Commission is getting a new name, but its acronym will remain the same.

Medina County commissioners are expected to approve the name change at next week’s meeting, rebranding the MCDAC as the Medina County Drug Advisory Committee.

Retiring director Brian Nowak suggested the name change.

County officials said the agency needs a name change after it came to light that MCDAC had been improperly funding several agencies in the county for more than 30 years.

Through an “administrative oversight,” several drug education and treatment centers received funding, which are inappropriate expenditures under the original anti-drug levy passed in 1987 by Medina County voters.

The original levy, adopted under Ohio Revised Code 5705.19 (J), focuses on police department, law enforcement operations and services. Since the levy passed, commissioners and MCDAC have been allocating funds based on original ballot language that included law enforcement, education and treatment.

The levy won’t stop paying for school resource officers, which Medina County Prosecutor S. Forrest Thompson called a “legitimate expense.” Buckeye, Cloverleaf and Highland have had their SROs paid for through the Medina County Sheriff’s Office, which will continue.

In a new plan, school districts in Brunswick, Medina and Wadsworth will get their SROs paid for through their local police departments.

“Everybody is taken care of,” County Administrator Scott Miller said.

As far as the drug treatment facilities, all but two are being funded through the Medina County Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Board for the fourth quarter of the 2018-19 fiscal year, Miller said.

MCDAC used about $700,000 for the entire year for treatment and education, which can no longer be funded. Several agencies have been waiting on the fourth quarter payments to continue their treatment options.

The ADAMH Board will fund OhioGuidestone, Cathy’s House and Community Assessment and Treatment Services, or CATS.

“These three agencies are currently monitored by the ADAMH board,” said Phillip Titterington, executive director of the ADAMH Board. “The ADAMH Board is the fiscal agent for each to receive MCDAC funding.”

Titterington said the ADAMH Board currently provides funding to support Cathy’s House and OhioGuidestone, outside of MCDAC.

“We will work closely with those agencies to assure client needs are met moving forward,” Titterington said.

“The ADAMH Board provided a significant amount of startup funds last year to assist CATS in bringing residential treatment to Medina County. At this time, there are no plans to continue funding beyond the unexpected shortfall left by MCDAC.”

The ADAMH Board won’t fund the Recovery Center of Medina County and The LCADA Way Medina Wellness Center, Titterington said, because its board doesn’t monitor those.

Agencies like the Medina County Drug Task Force and the schools need to get their applications into MCDAC by the May 3 deadline. They are expected to be funded in July.

Medina County Commissioner Pat Geissman has a problem with the fact that residents voted for one thing, and it’s going to be funded differently.

“I truly feel people voted based on what the language was on the ballot, not the Ohio Revised Code,” she said.

“You and I voted for that thinking there was education and there was prevention. That’s what people voted on, not the Ohio Revised Code. I think we should spend that money based on what people voted on.”

She wants Thompson to reach out to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost for some clarity and his opinion on the matter.

In other news:

  • Shannon Rine, director of the Medina County Public Transit, said he has recommended that it should carry over prices from last year. Brunswick and Medina will pay $45,000 for fixed routes in their cities for 2019, while Wadsworth will pay $15,000.

Also, the MCPT has received $376,240 in capital funding from the Federal Highway Administration to purchase four new 2018 Ford/El Dorado Aerotech buses at a cost of $353,764 from Whitworth Bus Sales, Inc. The remaining funds will be used for the upcoming purchase of cameras for the buses.

It also received an Ohio Department of Transportation grant of $450,000 from the Ohio Transit Preservation Partnership Program for the purchase of several buses.

  • The Medina County Solid Waste Management District will hike its gate fees from the current $42 per ton to $44.50 per ton. Bagged refuse dropped off at the former Central Processing Facility will rise from $1.25 per bag to $1.30 per bag.

The fees will change April 1.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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