Butler County commissioners still missing one member after coronavirus diagnoses

All three Butler County commissioners contracted the coronavirus so they had to participate virtually in their regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 23.
All three Butler County commissioners contracted the coronavirus so they had to participate virtually in their regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 23.

Credit: NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

The Butler County commissioners are still without one board member as Commissioner Don Dixon continues to recover from the coronavirus, which could impact future decisions.

The commission meeting was cancelled two weeks ago because all three commissioners had COVID-19. Last week, Commissioner T.C. Rogers presided over the weekly meeting via WebEx and Commissioner Cindy Carpenter joined by phone. Dixon wasn’t well enough to join the meeting and remained absent Monday. He told the Journal-News in a text message he is feeling better but isn’t 100% recovered yet.

Rogers and Carpenter held a public hearing this week on the Land of Illusion amusement park rezoning and expansion. After the two-hour hearing, they told attendees they would take the matter under advisement and have a decision at an upcoming meeting.

County Administrator Judi Boyko told the Journal-News even if Dixon returns next week he would not be able to vote on the rezoning because he didn’t hear the evidence presented. Rogers said if he and Carpenter disagree on the project as presented it would be automatically denied.

“You have to have two,” Rogers said.

In recent years, a rare time the three commissioners didn’t vote unanimously was over health insurance for their employees. That issue was settled in October.

Under a worst-case scenario, if two commissioners are not available to perform their duties, state statutes install the county coroner, in this instance Dr. Lisa Mannix, as a temporary commissioner.

The next biggest matter needing the commissioners’ approval is the 2021 budget. Traditionally the commissioners approve the budget at the end of December and Rogers said he anticipates Dixon will be back within a couple weeks.

In this pandemic environment the commissioners asked everyone to cut 7.4% cumulatively out of their budgets for this year and next. During budget hearings several office holders asked the commissioners to reinstate some of their money, so there are still big decisions to make.

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