Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Commissioner's Corner - October 2013

October is almost over, and with that the end of fall grows closer. That means colder weather cannot be far behind, the end of High School Football is nearer, and fall events lessen and winter events take over. It has been a good fall so far, so let’s hope that winter will treat us just as kindly.

October has been a particularly busy month in the County for the Commissioners, as we get ready for appropriation meetings in November. Things are looking cautiously optimistic for us as the year closes. Sales tax is up, and all departments have done a good job of holding spending in check. The big question is what is going to happen in Washington, and what effect that will have on us? One thing we will make sure of is we will not count on any or very little help from Washington. There is a lot of unknowns for next year, so we will take a “wait and see” attitude with the budget. It is hard to do when we need to advance some departments, but the uncertainty with budgets in Columbus and Washington require us to take a very conservative approach, which we always do anyway. We will be very cautious.

On Wednesday October 23rd, the P4P (Partnering for Progress) group held a mixer at the Bistro off Broadway in Greenville for its investors and anyone interested in what this group has accomplished. So far, this group, along with the Darke County C.I.C (Community Improvement Corp.) and others, have accounted for over 1,000 jobs created or retained in the last 3 years! This is a great achievement for the Economic Development office and all the hard work they have put in. Marc Saluk may be one of the best E.D. Directors in the State, so when you see him, truly thank him for making Darke County one of the premier hot spots in the State for job growth. We also have several projects still brewing, and our workforce efforts should start bearing some real fruit in the near future. We think the Workforce Coordinator, Lisa Wendel, is someone people need to meet. She is aggressively working with the Schools, Jobs and Family Services, and businesses to make sure that our manufacturers and businesses have enough qualified workers to stay in Darke County. Lisa is putting in a lot of hours in this, and with the help of the superintendents, plant managers, and guidance counselors, we think Darke County’s efforts are on the leading edge of this needed program. State Senator Bill Beagle is impressed with our efforts, and is in contact with us on a number of issues we are doing so he can bring the States ideas back to us, and take ours back to the State. Lisa will be keeping people informed of our progress as we move forward.

On Thursday, October 24th, Commissioner Delaplane (dressed as Annie Oakley) and Commissioner Stegall (dressed as Frankenstein) handed out treats to the kids and parents on Greenville’s official Beggars Night parade. The Darke County Solid Waste District provided us with the treats to hand out, and we must have handed out over 1000 bags of treats! A good time was had by all. A big “Thank you,” to Krista Fourman, the Solid Waste Director, and Melissa Werling, her Assistant, for providing us with the treats to pass out. One note: Thanks to Christina Chalmers from the Daily Advocate for providing the make-up and expertise for me to look like Frankenstein. A lot of people said I made the best Frankenstein at the event! (not really sure how to take that!?)

In other news, some of you may have noticed all the maintenance work that has been accomplished this year. We are on a comprehensive program to make sure our buildings and Courthouse are viable for years to come. We are currently pouring new concrete out at the Plaza on Wagner Avenue, replacing sidewalks and curbs that have been in place since its inception. This will surely add to the appeal of the building, as well as increase the safety for people using the facility as the bricks that were there in spots are now replaced, reducing the walking hazard. Maintenance will continue to be an area that we are going to aggressively pursue, so as to make people proud of what their tax dollars have given us. Thank you all for that, and we will continue to be good stewards of what you have given us to use.

November and winter is getting closer, and with that the end of the year is nearer. Won’t you join us for a Commissioners meeting to let us know how we are doing, and what you expect of us in the future? We meet publicly every Monday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Office at 520 S. Broadway in Greenville, just south of the Courthouse. Everyone is welcome! See you there!!

The Darke County Commissioners

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