Monday, April 29, 2013

Commissioner's Corner: April 2013

April has certainly lived up to the phrase, “April showers” this year. April has continued to hold onto wintery weather, along with ample amounts of rain for the month. Although the rain has been appreciated, it has delayed our farmers from doing work in the fields. We need a good week for things to dry out, along with warmer temperatures, for our agri- business people to start their heavy work for the year. Hopefully, this will be a good year for our farmers as last year’s drought did no one any good.

As April comes to a close, this has been a busy month in the Commissioner’s office and in all of our county offices. The Commissioners are working on several projects, a couple of which we hope to be able to talk about in the near future, but a couple that we can inform you of now.

One of the major projects is the upgrade and maintenance of the Darke County Jail’s infrastructure. The old sewer pipes are made out of cast iron, and after 30 years, is deteriorating badly. We have discovered that the sewer pipes can be re-lined with a material that will make the pipes last another 50 years. Recently, we had a company video the sewer pipes in the jail to determine the areas of deterioration. We are in the process of working up a spec sheet for companies who do this kind of work to bid on the project. This will be much cheaper than having to build a new jail, which we don’t want to do. We will let everyone know what company we have chosen for this work.

Another project that is coming along very nicely is the remodeling of the 3rd floor of the courthouse. Through the combined efforts of our Judges and the Prosecutor, they are using their special projects funds to do the upgrades, along with help from the Commissioners. This work has been long overdue, and will add a real pleasant atmosphere to the Courthouse. Hopefully, all work should be completed by the end of May. If you see one of the Judges, or the Prosecutor, thank them for helping make the Courthouse a source of pride in the County. The Commissioners do appreciate all the co-operation the Judges give us, and for all they are doing.

It is hard to believe, but in June, it will be budget time again. This year, as last year, we will start to look at the County offices budgets, and prepare for 2014. It is hard to say now what we will be doing, but in another month, we should have a better handle on the future, especially if Ohio gets their budget done. Along with that, the revenue from the Casino’s is still running about 25% to 28% less than predicted. This will drop even further when the other 6 Racinos (horse racing tracks that will have slot machines) open later this year. The Racino money is earmarked for the schools, not the counties, as the casino money is.

Economically, we continue to move forward. Marc Saluk, the Darke County Economic Development Director, is meeting himself coming and going. Marc has a trip planned to California next month, along with other members of the Southwest Ohio Development Organization, to talk to Agri- businesses that are unhappy with things in California. Hopefully, Marc and the others can get a few good leads while he is there. Marc has several trips planned for this year, and all of them seem to be very worthwhile. These trips allow Marc to meet with Site developers as well as Company executives who are looking at alternative places to expand their businesses or to relocate completely. Darke County has a lot to offer, so it is important to get our name out to areas that may not know of us, or to companies who would not consider us without a face to face meeting. We will let you know Marc’s impressions when he gets back.

The Economic Development office continues to work on Workforce development, and that part of the puzzle is coming along very well. Thank you to all of the companies, school superintendents, counselors, and educators who are making this program become a reality. One of the companies, Ramco Motors, and their owner, Dave Dunaway, has some really good ideas in this area. Ramco Motors just became the newest member of the Partnering for Progress initiative, and we want to welcome Dave on board. Thanks, Dave for your commitment!

Summer will hopefully get here before too long, and with it better times ahead. Won’t you join us this summer? We meet publicly every Monday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the Commissioner’s office located at 520 South Broadway in Greenville. We are in the old Sheriff’s office just south of the courthouse. We hope to see you there!!

The Darke County Commissioners

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