LIMA — Elida resident Claude Paxton had the ear of the Allen County commissioners for more than an hour Thursday.
He took advantage of that time to express his disappointment in what he sees as an apparent lack of transparency on the part of the commissioners in their ongoing exploration of possibly contracting with Miami County for building code inspections.
Paxton, a member of the Elida Village Council, stressed the comments made to the commissioners were his own and did not necessarily reflect the feelings of that public body.
The Elida man described the belief that the relationship between the county and Lima — which currently performs building code inspections for the county — as “strained at best” and urged the commissioners to work together with city officials to keep the inspection process local.
“People in the city are doing their jobs. I want the county and city officials to come together and solve the problems you may have. This should have happened before you look elsewhere,” he said.
Paxton also said he “took umbrage” with reported comments attributed to commissioners Greg Sneary and Jay Begg that he said were “discouraging and unhelpful” to the ongoing negotiations between the city and county.
Paxton admitted his knowledge of the county’s discussions surrounding the building inspection process is limited to what he read in the newspaper.
“There’s a ton of things you’re not aware of,” Sneary told Paxton. Following the meeting, Sneary declined to elaborate.
Paxton summed up his feelings about the ongoing controversy, saying, “The biggest offense to me is the lack of openness and the animosity (exhibited between city and county officials). I want people of this county to feel they have a voice.”
Sneary said it is in the best interest of taxpayers for the commissioners to do their due diligence in researching the best way for inspections to take place in Allen County.
“Like every other contract we do, half the time the winning bid goes to someone from out of town. This is a contract, and we are charged to do the best job we can with the money we’ve got.
“This is not a political game.”
Following the meeting, Sneary said he believed the controversy surrounding the building department has been orchestrated, but he declined when asked to explain what he meant.