Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Commissioner's Corner

The showers that showed up in April are still here in May. Just a few farmers have been in the fields, and as of this writing on May 23, the forecast is for rain on and off all week. Hopefully, the weather man is wrong and we can finally see a good stretch of sunshine. However, the rain has not slowed down things in the Commissioner’s office; we are still continuing to pursue certain projects.

The State Rte. 242 project is moving along very nicely. Commissioner Rhoades had a meeting with the State Highway District 7 people last week, along with Engineer Jim Surber and Grants Coordinator Jeff Marshall. The District 7 Programming Engineer, Matt Parrill, informed them that the time table for this project is a little ahead of schedule. This project is important to Darke County for the simple reason of easier accessibility for the larger businesses in the county. A future expansion of the airport is critical for economic growth, and we will continue to advance this agenda. The State of Ohio should have their budget completed by mid June, so until then a lot of items are on hold. We are having preliminary budget hearings and as of now everybody has done a nice job of holding the bottom line steady. The Commissioners do want to sincerely thank all the Department Heads for their cooperation and understanding during these tough economic times. Most of our people in the Courthouse and Commissioners Office have not had raises for several years, yet they continue to produce at a very high and efficient level. Their dedication and hard work is greatly appreciated.

We have 11 applications for CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds, but as of now we do not have any idea how much will be available to the County. We will prioritize the applications and when we do find out how much is available, we will distribute the funds as needed. It is rumored in Columbus that the CDBG grant will be disappearing altogether, but we have heard nothing as of yet. This is a good tool for us to use in helping fund much needed projects throughout the County. In June, there will be 2 hearings on the proposal to raise the conveyance fee from 2 dollars per thousand to 3 dollars per thousand on property sales. This increase will be used exclusively for economic development. None of the increase will go to the County to be used in the general fund. The money will be earmarked for the #106 fund which is economic development. Once the money is put in this fund, it must be used only for economic development. This will give the Economic Development Department a much needed tool to help small and large businesses to expand, and attract new businesses into Darke County. The hearing dates are June 15th and June 20th at 1:30 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Office if you wish to express your opinion.

On the economic development front, we seem to be having quite a few successes and continue to pursue more opportunities. Continental Carbonic will be up and running at full tilt soon, and we welcome them to Darke County. In talking to their leadership, they seem to be committed to Darke County and will be a good corporate citizen for we hope a very long time. The Integrity Ambulance development should be starting soon, and this will be a welcome addition also. Thanks to Mayor Bowers of Greenville for his assistance in helping this project get underway. Marc Saluk, the E. D. Director, continues to be very busy with expansion and new projects. We hope this trend continues, even though Marc doesn’t seem to have much time for anything else! Sorry Marc, but we do appreciate your efforts and hope you continue with the success we have had so far.

The parade season has started in Darke County and the Elected Officials hope to see you at all the Darke County events. If we don’t see you at the parades, or festivals, hopefully we will see you at a meeting. The Darke County Commissioners meet publicly every Monday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., at 520 South Broadway, in downtown Greenville, just south of the Courthouse. Hope to see you there!

The Darke County Commissioners

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