Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Commissioners Corner - August 2013

It is late in August, the Great Darke County Fair has just been completed, local football teams are practicing and ready for their first games, schools have already started, or about too, and all of this reminds us that fall is not far behind. As of this writing, we could really use a little rain to help the farmer’s crops, especially the soybeans, to fill out. Although, rain was needed, it was perfect weather for the fair, and we would bet they had a record crowd this year.

August has seen Darke County continue to prosper on several fronts. The sales tax for the county is still ahead of last year, and with the added revenues, we are still holding the line on spending. We are in the process of doing a lot of preventive maintenance on our facilities. We are going to have the Visitation House painted this month, along with our Maintenance Building located on Front Street. This facility is now used by the Darke County Ditch Maintenance Department, and the new man in charge, Jeff McMiller, has started to put his stamp on the department. Jeff has done a lot of visits with people, has become familiar with all the ditches in the county, has set up a plan to maintain them on a regular basis, and is in the process of cleaning up the facility on Front Street. This job is much more difficult than it sounds as Darke County has 122 open ditches, and they are all the counties responsibility. When you see Jeff, tell him he is doing a good job, we are sure he will appreciate it.

We are in the process of looking at more maintenance on our other facilities, also. The Sheriff’s Department, the Garst Avenue Complex, and the Wagner Avenue Complex are all in line for some maintenance issues. The Wagner Complex is probably the most visible, and it needs to be seen in a positive light by locals and visitors alike. We are looking at some concrete work, re-doing some of the plastering up front, and putting a wall behind the Goodwill end of the complex to hold up the ground in the back. The wall work will probably be done later this fall by our maintenance department. Darke County has an obligation to the citizens to take care of the buildings that tax money provides for us, and we take seriously our obligation. Maintenance will be an ongoing priority for us.

Economically, we continue to roll along very nicely. Marc Saluk, the Economic Development Director for the county, continues to put in many hours working with local companies on expansion, and with new companies looking to relocate here. Marc is doing a great job, but in an effort to continue our economic efforts, the department added Ms. Lisa Wendel to co-ordinate our workforce development efforts. Lisa will be a part time employee for now, and has already begun the task of working with all the players involved in workforce development; schools, businesses, tech centers, and J.F.S. Lisa is the former superintendant of Mississinawa Schools, and is a perfect fit for this position. Darke County is doing a very good job in having places for people to work, and jobs available, but our companies are in need of qualified, dependable individuals. This is a very important part of the equation because if companies cannot find enough qualified and dependable people here, they will go somewhere else. This will continue to be a problem for us in the future, but this effort by the C.I.C., Partnering for Progress, and our local companies, schools, and the J.F.S., is growing. Workforce Development is crucial. We wish Lisa good luck, and we are sure she will do a great job.

As Darke County moves forward, we are always looking for ideas to do things better. Get involved. The public is always welcome to our meetings. We meet every Monday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the Administration Building just south of the Courthouse @ 520 South Broadway in downtown Greenville. Hope to see you there!

The Darke County Commissioners

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