Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Commissioners' Corner - June 2012

Summer is in full swing in Darke County now. Once again, it is hot and humid, the children are out of school, and vacation time is just around the corner for most people. It is hard to believe, but the Great Darke County Fair is less than 2 months away! Where has the time gone?

Time is moving forward in the Commissioner’s Office also. By the time this is printed, the mid- year budget process will be completed, and we will be waiting on other projects, or completing and starting others. We are holding the budget line for all Departments again, as we have done for several years now. We will have a much clearer budget look in November. Right now, things are going pretty well, the sales tax is up slightly, and our Department Heads and Elected Officials are holding the line on spending. If you see one of our Department Heads or Elected Officials, be sure to thank them for all their hard work. Darke County is fortunate in that our Department Heads and Elected Officials and their personnel do a great job of being conservative with the people’s money.

The CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) hearings are done, and with the lessened amount of money received this year, it was really difficult to make some projects winners and some losers. In 2010 we received $151,000 from the Grant. In 2011 the amount was $138,000. This year the Grant was cut even more to $120,000. We are sure this trend will continue, so it is imperative that we pick projects that the Commissioners feel give us the most “bang for the buck”. All of the applicants for the Grant have worthwhile needs, and it is a shame that we cannot help them all. This year, Union City, the Village of Wayne Lakes, and Pitsburg got all or part of their projects funded. This will continue to get harder and harder to do as the funds become more depleted.

On the economic front, Darke County continues to lead the Dayton area in job retention and expansion. Midmarks announced expansion is greatly welcomed, and it is always a pleasure to work with the company’s directors. Midmarks commitment to Versailles and Darke County only reinforces the concept to other major companies that Darke County is the place to locate and grow. Because of the collaboration between Midmark, the Economic Development Office, the Commissioner’s Office, and the State’s Jobs Ohio Program, Midmark will continue to be a very prominent member of the County and the State. Thank you to all involved. Marc Saluk, the Economic Development Director, has many more projects in the works, and almost all companies that he is working with are planning some sort of expansion or project for the future. Our Workforce Development Initiative is well underway, regional collaboration with our neighbors is continuing and growing, and the Partnering for Progress initiative continues to add members. These efforts by all involved parties have led to our unemployment rate for the county to have dropped to 6.3%, far below the State average, and almost 2% below the national average. Our successes have led to Darke County being featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Whirlpool, by bringing back hand mixers from China to the Greenville facility, was prominently featured and created interest in how smart companies are competing in the world market. This not only promoted Whirlpool, but gave Greenville and Darke County tremendous exposure. Thank you to all of our major manufacturers, smaller businesses and shops for showcasing Darke County in a positive light.

As Darke County continues its positive path forward, we encourage everyone in the County to get involved and help us to move forward. One way to do that is to attend a Commissioners meeting and let us know your suggestions and comments. We meet every Monday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Office located at 520 S. Broadway in Greenville, just south of the Courthouse. Hope to see you there!

The Darke County Commissioners

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