Reline Appointed To Land Group

Richland Township Trustee Greg Reline is the new director of the newly-formed Belmont County Land Reutilization Corp. board following heated discussion at its board meeting Wednesday.

County Treasurer Kathy Kelich serves on the board, as do county commissioners Ginny Favede and Matt Coffland. Commissioners established the entity earlier this year to seek money and deal with the issue of dilapidated houses in the county.

Prior to the County Land Reutilization’s meeting Wednesday, Kelich expressed concerns that based on her interpretation of rules pertaining to land banks in Ohio, Reline couldn’t serve on the board because he had no background in land management or revitalization of properties in the county.

Coffland said Reline – a longtime chief with the Cumberland Trail Fire Department – had much experience. Martins Ferry Director of Development Kathy Wade-Gagin represented Martins Ferry Mayor Paul Riethmiller at the meeting, and suggested board members vote on the appointment.

Kelich stormed out of the meeting before the it started, which caused issues as her presence and votes were necessary to legally start up the Belmont County Land Reutilization Corp. The board couldn’t vote on its director or take financial actions needed to meet grant deadlines by the end of the month without her participation.

Commission Mark Thomas, who is not a member of the land reutilization board, went to Kelich’s office to convince her to return. He said he reminded her Coffland owns rental property, and meets the requirements of the land bank rules.

She rejoined the meeting about 15 minutes after leaving.

Thomas told the board, “The only thing (Kelich) is asking is that the minutes reflect that Commissioner Matt Coffland is the board member who fulfills the requirements.”