Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Commissioner's Corner - April 2012

The spring season is upon us, the farmers are planting, and as this is written we are getting a little bit of rain. The temperatures are warming up, and springtime normally makes everyone feel better. Spring is a good time to start things anew, and we in the Commissioner’s Office are revving up for a busy springtime and summer.

We have been really busy in the office. We are of course looking as to what to do in the E.M.A. Office. We have several options and we want to make sure we pick the right one for Darke County. Right now, the Office is being run by Mindy Saylor. Mindy is doing everything by herself, so we have to make sure that whatever we do is the right choice. Mindy is doing a super job for us in a very difficult situation. We hope to have an answer real soon. We also are keeping tabs on the new roof project at Edison State College. The Contractor, Harold J. Becker, is moving along nicely, and as long as the weather does not slow them down, they may be done by the end of the month. This project has been long overdue, and we hope to keep Edison State for a long time. Thanks to Jeff Marshall and everyone who helped make this possible after all these years.

The Jail continues to have problems, and we are looking at solutions to fix them. We are in the process of getting the jail ductwork cleaned, and the jail itself, as this has not been done since the building was built. On the 9-1-1 front, the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (C.C.A.O.) is not very positive on the $.28 per month cell phone tax being kept. Since this is an election year, it looks like that will be going away at this point. This will definitely hurt the less populated counties like ours. We receive about $115,000 a year and this is a source of revenue we cannot afford to lose. We will keep everyone posted. The Sheriff’s office is planning a series of talks on 9-1-1 to inform the public how it works. Deputy Chief Whittaker will be supplying the information as to when and where these will be held. If anyone has any questions on the mechanical side of how it works, you may contact him at the Sheriff’s Office.

The St. Rte. 242 project is moving along nicely. The State Highway Department says they are ahead of schedule, and we hope to have things moving here shortly. This project will be a big help to our runway extension at the airport. As you know, we have 300 feet of runway that is not usable by some bigger aircraft, and this project will allow us to access this already existing part of the runway.

On the economic development front, the County continues to move ahead aggressively. We still have a lot of projects in the works, and all the local C.I.C.’s, the Partnering for Progress initiative, the villages, city, towns, and the E.D. Office continue to work closely together to retain and bring new business to the county. This partnership is unique in the fact that everyone is on board to make things better. This does not happen in other parts of the State. One area of development for the State that we are looking to get involved in is the Shale Oil supply chain. This project is bigger than anybody can estimate, and we may have several companies that can fit into the supply side of this booming business. Mayor Mike Bowers and Commissioner Stegall attended a Shale Oil Conference on April 11th in Cambridge, Ohio, to learn more about the subject. What we discovered was that the entire State will be affected by this business, and if companies want to get involved, there will be a website to share with Oil Companies explaining what service your company can provide. If any companies are interested, no matter how big or small, go online to OhioShaleEnergy.com and complete a survey and you will be entered into a data base at the Voinovich School at Ohio University for oil companies to access. According to what we learned at the conference, this could generate over $500 million dollars a year in extra revenue to the State by 2014.

In other economic news, On March 28th, S&P upgraded Ohio’s Enterprise Bond Fund Ratings two levels to AA+. S&P cited Ohio’s strong risk profile and sound financial policies as key factors in the upgrade. This is the first upgrade since 2003. Things continue to improve in Ohio, and we hope to continue down this path of economic growth. On the same note, as Greenville was honored as one of the top micropolitans in the country, ranked #21, Cincinnati and Cleveland were both ranked in the top ten Metropolitan areas by KPMG Limited, an audit, tax and advisory firm as being the least costly locations in America to do business among the 27 largest Metropolitan areas. All of this is great news for Ohio, as we are moving ahead out of the economic slump. Anyone can subscribe to get updates on Economic activity in Ohio by accessing DevelopOhio.Blog. In other Ohio news, for the 31st straight year Ohio has led the nation in Tree City USA cities with 237. Last year Ohioan’s planted over 28,000 trees statewide. To learn more go to www.ohiodnr.com/forestry.

We hope to keep Darke County as informed as possible on all happenings in the County. One way we do that is in our Public Sessions. We meet every Monday and Wednesday, at 1:30 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Office conference room. We are located at 520 S. Broadway, just south of the Courthouse. Please plan to attend a meeting soon. See you there!

- The Darke County Commissioners

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