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By Leah Sander
ROCHESTER — Updates on Fulton County and Rochester and a recent data leak were addressed during the second Fulton County Legislative Breakfast.
The breakfast, put on by the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce and Fulton County Farm Bureau, was at the Fulton County Public Library’s Rochester branch on Saturday, Feb. 10.
Unlike the last breakfast in January and the next planned in March, local instead of state leaders spoke. They included Rochester Mayor Trent Odell and Fulton County Commissioners Bryan Lewis, Rick Ranstead and David Sommers.
Before talking about general updates on the area, Lewis, who serves as the commissioners’ president, referenced the data leak.
Through it, the Fulton County auditor’s office mistakenly published the last four digits of county employees’ Social Security numbers as part of a legal notice in a local newspaper.
“We have spoken with our insurance company and I have spoken with an attorney who was assigned to us, to our insurance company,” said Lewis. “We will be offering credit monitoring for the county employees.”
“It’s a disappointing thing it happened,” he added. “The three of us (commissioners) have spent countless hours trying to figure out what can be done, what happened.”
Lewis noted state leaders had told him that state law doesn’t prohibit the publishing of employees’ Social Security numbers.
“So that’s something that I know Rick, David and I are pursuing to try to force legislators to look at some change in some law,” Lewis added.
County, City Plans
Lewis then pivoted to speak about future plans for the area.
“I think the future is getting brighter for our community,” he said.
He referenced Rochester Community Schools working to get a child care grant. Lewis also said he met with Odell and Fulton County Economic Development leaders recently.
“It’s nice and reassuring to know that there’s a positive outlook coming,” he said. “With the city and county being able to work together, it opens up opportunities community-wide for us.”
Sommers spoke next, referencing how he works with the Fulton County Emergency Management Agency and 911 Communications as a commissioner.
He said EMA and 911 Communications Director Gail Karas is working with RCS and the Caston School Corp. on safety planning.
Sommers also said the Rochester Telephone Co. should be done laying fiber for broadband throughout the whole county by the end of the year.
Ranstead spoke next.
Referring to Fulton County Veterans Service Officer Ric Fouts who was in attendance, Ranstead noted the service office recently got a new van to transport veterans to medical appointments.
Ranstead gave an update on the county working on a new contract with Lutheran EMS to provide ambulance services.
It will provide three ambulances in the county, including bringing one back to Akron. Ranstead said he hoped final negotiations would be completed around March 1.
Odell was the last to speak, hitting on some things he touched on during his State of the City address in January.
He briefly referenced the Rochester water rate hikes that were going into effect to help pay for rising utility maintenance costs. The Rochester City Council approved them last year, with the rates to go up over three phases.
He also said the city was working to start treating leachate, or water collected from Republic Services County Line Landfill, again. If it’s able to, that will generate additional revenue for Rochester.
Odell said the city hoped to install a code enforcement officer to oversee upkeep of properties in Rochester.
The final Legislative Breakfast is planned for Saturday, March 2, at the Akron Community Center. State legislators representing Fulton County will present, and everyone is welcome at the free event.