Friday, March 28, 2014

Commissioner's Corner: March 2014

March is here and so far it looks like it is coming “in like a lion and out like a lamb.” Let us hope that the cold, miserable winter we have had is finally closing out. It will be nice to get back to “normal” weather, and normal electric and gas bills again! This winter has been tough on everyone’s pocketbooks, and really hurt some budgets, but we will survive I am sure. Darke County is one of the prettiest places to be in the springtime so enjoy the surroundings and all the good things we have to offer.

One of the great things about March, besides the beginning of spring, is that it brings new hope and joy to a lot of people. March has started out like gangbusters for the County, and it looks like this is just the beginning of a great year!! Of course, I am talking about the huge Whirlpool announcement for the county. Whirlpool’s commitment to Darke County, along with the partnership we have formed with them, should bring a smile to everyone’s face. The announcement of a $40 million dollar investment and the hiring of 400 new employees over the next several years made State and National news, and included the presence of Governor John Kasich. All involved at the State level and the executives from Whirlpool gave credit to the local people. Because of the work ethic and quality that the plant provides, everyone agreed after looking at national and international sites, that Greenville was the only place to expand. This should make everyone in the county proud! I know when we talked to everyone, we all were proud to hear that our people were the difference. Whirlpool’s commitment to us, and us to them, is a model of how a community and corporations can come together and over time become like family. All of our long-term companies like BASF, MIDMARK, POLY-ONE ( the former Spartech), RAMCO MOTORS, and others to numerous too mention, are part of the Darke County Family, and we will do everything possible to make them feel welcome here as such. Many Thanks goes to the Economic Development office, the Partnering for Progress Initiative, and the C.I.C. for making this all work. Whirlpool is just one of the great announcements we have had this month.

The $500,000 grant for Memorial Hall was good news for everyone. Thanks to Matt Jordan and the committee for their hard work on procuring this grant. This money will help Memorial Hall stay viable for the foreseeable future. Thanks again to all involved. The good news just keeps on coming as the Darke County Career Tech center has received a grant of $500,000 to expand also. This money will help our students and workers to learn and grow as we expand our workforce efforts. Thanks to Senator Bill Beagle and Sandra Brasington from the Governor’s office for their help on this effort. The Darke County Animal Shelter also received a $2000 dollar grant From the Ohio Pet fund to spay and neuter dogs. This will help offset some of the cost of this program. More good news is coming soon, as we wrap up some other projects in the E.D. office. Things are looking up here!! So please, be patient, and as soon as we can, we will inform you of what’s happening.

In other happenings, we in the Commissioner’s Office are continuing along the path we have set by doing maintenance on buildings, and catching up on things that have been allowed to falter in the past. Building maintenance is going along well, thanks to our dedicated group of maintenance people led by Marty Munchel. Sometimes, there are not enough hours in the day for these guys, but Marty, Kenny Martin, Rick Robinson and Mark Schlechty, along with Bill Marker, our Sewer Maintenance Supervisor, get the job done without complaint. Thanks Marty and guys for a great job that often goes unnoticed and underappreciated! We are still doing scanning of important material, and this will continue for a while. These materials need to be done, and it is required, so our people are working to bring us into compliance. We are also working with the Chamber of Commerce on a plan to curb drug addiction in Darke County. In a conversation with the Sheriff and others, we are all working on a plan, and another meeting is scheduled for April 4th. When we have a completed plan, we will let everyone know so all of Darke County can help us with this problem. We may not be able to cure the problem, but we can get a handle on it, trim it down, and keep it from growing. Speaking of the Sheriff, by the time this is printed, we should have at least two of our new cars, and maybe all 3! This is a much needed addition to the department, and will help our deputies to do their job more efficiently. The Sheriff also is reworking his policy manual which needed an update, and will help clarify duties and expectations for the department.

Thanks to Judge Hein, Judge Monnin, and Kelly Ormsby, our Prosecutor, for the much needed updating of their respective offices, and the Courthouse remodeling effort. A few years ago, the Auditor, Carol Ginn, Clerk of Courts Cindy Pike, and Treasurer, Scott Zumbrink, used money they had to update their offices also. The Recorder, Linda Stachler is planning to upgrade her office as well. Jim Surber, the County Engineer, gave up storage space and put up with a lot of the mess when the basement remodeling took place. As can be seen, all of our elected officials in the Courthouse have done more than their part to make things better, and we in the Commissioner’s office realize how important their help is. Thanks to all of you, and I am sure I missed someone, but Thanks for helping to make our little corner of the world a better place.

March has been a great month so far, and seems to be a precursor of good things to come. Why don’t you join us for one of our bi-weekly meetings? We meet every Monday and Wednesday publicly at 1:30 p.m. in the Commissioner’s office, just south of the Courthouse on Broadway in Downtown Greenville. Let us know what you think, and what you want to see happen. Hope to see you there!!

The Darke County Commissioners

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