JEFFERSON — The Ashtabula County Board of Commissioners approved an increase in the maximum amount to be paid to outside counsel for negotiations for the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake at a Tuesday meeting.

Previously, the commissioners approved spending $10,000 on outside counsel relating to state legislation calling for the transfer of the lodge to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. That figure was increased to $15,000 previously, and on Tuesday, it was increased again to $45,000.

The state’s 2021 biennial budget included language calling for the state to take ownership of the lodge, and in exchange, the county would receive an amount of money equal to the outstanding debt.

The funds will be repaid with money from the state allocation in the biennial budget.

County officials have previously said they are seeking a legislative fix to the situation, to allow for continued local control.

In other business:

• A makeup budget work session was scheduled for Dec. 15, after last Thursday’s work session was canceled when the county offices were closed because of a snowstorm.

• A contract with the Ashtabula County Engineer’s Office to plow driveways and parking areas at various county-owned buildings.

The contract is retroactive to Nov. 1, and runs through April, 2023. The cost is not to exceed $11,000.

• The commissioners approved a $2,500 grant to the Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival, to help mitigate financial hardship.

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