Monday, March 3, 2014

Commissioners' Corner - February 2014

February has finally come to a close, and with that the hopeful beginning of the end of winter. Yes, we still have March to contend with, but hopefully the old saying about March; “In like a lion, out like a lamb” will hold true. So far, this has been the 4th coldest winter on record for us, and I for one have had enough! Let’s get on with spring and the warmer weather! I hope for those who say they love the cold weather, they have gotten their fill of it. (Frankly, I had enough of it in November!)

Even though the weather kept schools and businesses from opening on some days, for the most part the Commissioners kept on going. I think we were closed 1 day for ice so far. The County continues to hum along, albeit though at a little slower pace due to the weather. However, things continue to look bright for the County as we go deeper into 2014. The Commissioners office still has a lot going on, and we are addressing the issues one at a time. Sales tax is about where it should be, and our receipts for property tax, according to Scott Zumbrink our treasurer, are keeping pace. Thanks to all of you for buying locally and helping us succeed. As most of you know, we have now ordered 6 new sheriff’s cars and one van for that department. The van will be used to transport prisoners, and to take juries to the scene of crimes if need be. The Sheriff has not had a van since 2007, so this is much needed transportation for them, and should cut costs, instead of using more cars to transport. The sheriff has been using cars from Missouri that were used by their sheriffs and turned in after 50,000 miles. We were buying them and we have used some way past 200,000 miles! The expected life of a police and sheriff car is about 100,000 to 125,000 miles, so we have got our money’s worth. Unfortunately, the Ford Crown Victoria is no longer available, so we have had to go to the Ford Explorer SUV for cars. This, however, is a must expenditure. The maintenance on the older vehicles is way out of line, and in the long run this will save us money and provide much more reliable response vehicles. On another related topic, the Sheriff’s department, along with community leaders, business leaders and Commissioners have joined together, thanks to the efforts of Sharon Deshambeau, the head of the Chamber of Commerce, and formed a group that is looking into the drug problem in Darke County. This is a nationwide problem, and we are not immune from it. The first meeting was held on Friday the 28th, and much was learned on how to combat this problem. Other meetings are planned, and we will inform everyone what is decided. One thing is certain, we all have to get on board with fighting this problem, no one can stand on the sidelines. Once we have a plan, everyone will be brought on board for this fight, everyone in the County is going to have to help. In other County news, the Commissioners are looking at doing upgrades on buildings, at the airport, and getting some much needed scanning done of records we need to keep. Carol Ginn and Cindy Pike are just 2 department heads who are leading the charge on this project, and their willingness to help is much appreciated. Thanks to both of you.

The Economic Development Department, Marc Saluk, Melanie Nealeigh, and Lisa Wendel, certainly have their hands full this year. There is much in the pipeline for Darke County, and the potential is wonderful. Marc has done an excellent job at running the department, and Lisa is far exceeding expectations with her work in workforce development. Melanie, the executive secretary, keeps them focused, and where they are supposed to be all the time! (no office can work without a good secretary!!) Hopefully, some announcements can be made shortly about what is happening in the future.

Cheer up! Winter will end soon, flowers will bloom, birds will sing, and it will be WARM!! In the meantime, plan on attending a Commissioners meeting, won’t you? Come on out and see what we are doing. We don’t mind the scrutiny, or the company! We meet publicly on Monday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the Commissioner’s office south of the Courthouse. Hope to see you there!!

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