The Richland County Commission held its first meeting of 2013 on Monday.

The commission received updates from the Highway Department when Richland County Engineer Tim Schulte explained the county was granted $1,031,858 in federal highway funds for road and bridge projects.

Due to end of year vacations, the department’s advisory committee was unable to meet and review the motor grader bids. Schulte said the bids would be analyzed for the next meeting.

Richland County States Attorney Warren Stokes resigned from his position at the meeting. In his letter of resignation, Stokes said, “I would like to thank the commissioners and all of the Richland County employees for their help. It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Richland County.”

The commission approved Stokes’ resignation. Because Stokes had two years left on his tenure, the commission advanced Stokes’ recommendation for his replacement, Ron McBeth to the position. McBeth was previously Stokes’ assistant. McBeth will finish out the two years and be on the next ballot.

Leslie Hage, County Treasurer’s Office, gave commissioners an update on tax collection. Hage said that as of Dec. 31, the county had collected 97.99 percent of 2011 taxes and 26.95 percent of 2012 taxes. Hage also had a recommendation to approve the 2013 depositories for Richland County. The commission approved the recommendation through a motion.

Walcott Township residents Chris and Karen Gehrig applied for a property abatement to lower the residential value of their house. The claim was that the residential property’s true and full value exceeded the market value. In the application, they requested that the commission lower the acres from five acres on their property to 1.5 acres, which would drop their land value from $37,800 to $6,000. The commission denied the application due Walcott Township requiring five acres for residential property.

Richland County Auditor Harris Bailey submitted the 2012 year-end transfers, which makes sure all the funds don’t have negative balances. The commission approved the transfers through a motion.

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