County approves body transport services

Overall costs uncertain due to opioid crisis

By Sam Wildow -

MIAMI COUNTY — While approving a service agreement during their meeting Thursday afternoon, the Miami County Board of Commissioners had to take into account the effect of the opioid epidemic on the needs of the Miami County Coroner.

Commissioners approved an agreement with Cron Mortuary Services on behalf of the Miami County Coroner to provide body transport services in 2018 from the site of death to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. The cost is not to exceed $25,000, which is an increase of previous not-to-exceed amounts to accommodate the unknown effect that the opioid epidemic will continue to have the county.

“The cost of the removal is increasing slightly this year from last year,” Angela Hubbard, special projects coordinator with the Miami County Auditor’s Office and IT Department, said. “In addition, we were really watching that line item really closely last year because of the opioid crisis. Autopsies had risen a lot in the first quarter, so that also transfers to the body removal services as well.”

Last year, the department spent $8,200 on body transport services and has approximately $1,800 left to roll over into this year.

“We made it through the year, believe it or not,” Hubbard said. “It was heavier in the beginning of the year and then it kind of dropped off, so we were able to make it through the year.”

She said that the department was watching the not-to-exceed price on the Cron contract closely as they approached it.

“This year, the contract not-to-exceed is being taken up to $25,000, which is probably way more than what we need not to exceed,” Hubbard said. “I don’t anticipate anywhere close to $25,000, but having that threshold gives us the wiggle room without having to renegotiate the contract.”

Any funds not used will go back to the county.

“There’s really no way to anticipate with the nature of this,” Hubbard said.

Cron Mortuary Services is also facing an increased cost in bringing more employees to the scene to help with the removal services.

“It’s my understanding that Mr. Cron used to have a lot of help different police agencies … to help remove a body,” Commissioner Gregory Simmons said.

Hubbard said that law enforcement personnel that may be at the scene are not able to help Cron Mortuary Services with removal services, so they are having to bring an additional employee to the scene and the costs are increasing in that respect as well.

Commissioner John O’Brien said that it was due to liability and insurance reasons as to why law enforcement personnel could not help with removal services.

Commissioners also approved a contract between the Miami County Juvenile Court and Michael’s Resource and Treatment Center in Greenville for the provision of placement and related services for children in the custody of the Miami County Juvenile Court. The costs are set in the individual care plans exectued at the time of a placement.

The commissioners also heard the year-end report of the Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau from Executive Director Diana Thompson. The bureau saw an increase in their revenues, according to Thompson. In 2016, their lodging tax revenues ended at $438,676. In 2017, it was $450,112. Their total revenues for 2016 were $455,300, and they were $494,724 for 2017.

“That’s the closest we’ve been to half a million, so we’re very likely going to reach that at the end of this year. That is my hope,” Thompson said. They ended last year with a surplus of funds of approximately $20,000.

Thompson also commended the first year of the Tour De Donut event, which she said had approximately 2,300 participants.

“That was a very good introduction to their new home in Troy,” she said.

Overall costs uncertain due to opioid crisis

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336