Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Commissioners Corner

The month of June has finally started to act like summer. The rains have abated some, and warm temperatures have slowly returned. We are sure that by now most of the farm planting has been done, and from our own observations, crops seem to be doing fairly well, at least the ones that have not had to be re-planted. We know it is hard to believe, but at the end of this month, the year will be at its halfway mark, and it seems like we are just getting started.

As of this writing, we are still waiting to hear from the State of Ohio on their final budget. We should know something by the 30th of this month. This seems to be the normal process, although it has been made much more difficult because of the State’s 8 plus billion dollar shortfall. Normally by now we have had some indication of what we have to work with, but so far not even a hint. The 2012 budget will probably be cut significantly, so we are going to have to make some really hard choices for the county. We do not like to be the bearers of bad news, but we feel it is better to let everyone know what to expect than to just dump it on people out of the blue. We will keep everyone informed on what we must do to balance the Counties budget for 2012. We have had preliminary budget discussions with our department heads, and we all understand these are preliminary and will be set as soon as we know something solid from the State.

On a more positive front, the courthouse parking lot project has been approved, and the contract went to Arcon Builders out of Arcanum. The cost of the project will be $150,450.20. This money has already been allocated from the N. S. P. (Neighborhood Stabilization Program) funds we received to refurbish the courthouse. Arcon should have the project completed within the next 2 months, and more public parking will then be available for the citizens.

The communication between our office and the people continues to improve. The Community Ties program on the Tiger Radio station (97.5 F.M.) continues to get good questions for us to answer each month. The program is aired on the 3rd Friday of each month, with people sending in questions about the county for us to answer. We really enjoy this interaction with the public, and hope that you continue to send in your questions for us to answer. The rise in the conveyance fee from $2 to $3 dollars has been the topic of much debate in the Commissioner’s office. We would like to thank those who participated in the discussion and for the honest opinions expressed. The expression of your opinions is vital to us to make an informed opinion. As this is written, no decision has been reached yet, but we will decide very soon. Thanks to all who have helped us make our decision. The Economic Development Department continues to be very busy and active in the retention and acquisition of new business. As of now, the department has a myriad of projects going on. Darke County continues to be very proactive in our search for new jobs, and job retention. We should be able to have some news on several of these fronts shortly. The Partnering 4 Progress group continues to grow, and this shows the effort and importance economic development is playing in Darke County. This is a group of investors who are pooling their resources to make Darke County competitive in the jobs market. If you wish to learn more about this effort, or to become a part of this group, you may contact the Darke County Economic Development office at 937-548-3250.

As always, we encourage all of the residents of the county to get involved. The Commissioners meet publicly twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays at 1:30 p. m. in the Commissioner’s Office, located at 520 S. Broadway in downtown Greenville, just south of the Courthouse. We look forward to seeing you there!

The Darke County Commissioners

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