Commissioners discuss Healing Community Study and opioids


By Meladi Brewer

GREENVILLE — The Darke County Commissioners met Thursday to discuss the Healing Communities Study, Darke County Veterans, and opioid organization. Commissioners Matt Aultman, Mike Stegall, and Larry Holmes were all present.

The commissioners approved the revenue and appropriation increases for the reimbursement from the “Healing Communities Study” for new EKG medical devices and other related equipment. The estimated revenue increase and appropriation increases are the same with a total of $5,616.42.

“The Healing Community Grant comes from the Coalition for a Healthy Darke County,” Aultman said. “A few years back, Darke County was awarded health communities dollars from the feds that amounted to a couple million bucks.”

Money has been taken out of the fund through the Coalition Board to be utilized for different projects and activities around the county. Examples of the money at work have been programs at the local schools, and this new allocation of money stemmed from the Darke County Sheriff seeing a need for the new equipment.

“He applied and got approved for this (EKG),” Aultman said. “I know our Tier III house is going to get funded out of that as well.”

The Tier III house stated in previous meetings is going to serve as a step-down house in order to get people reacquainted out of the system and eased back into society.

The commissioners also approved an expense request for the Darke County Veterans to attend the National Association of County Veterans Services Offices (NACVSO) Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The grand total costs for both Thomas Pitman and Var Gehron is $6,320. This includes transportation, parking, lodging, and meals.

“They do a nice job,” Holmes said. “We got to see the representation here at the Vietnam War Veterans Proclamation earlier this week, and they are a pretty active group who play a vital part in our community.”

The National Vietnam War Veterans’ Day Proclamation was signed by the commissioners on March 29 during a memorial service at Bear’s Mill. It stated the DC Commissioners recognize the service of the U.S. Armed Forces and its allies during the Vietnam War, and remain grateful for their courage and valor.

Holmes continues to state he believes it is good to support veterans and the work they do for our community.

“The agenda for the NACVSO looks like it goes from 5 a.m. and goes late into the night, so they pack it full,” Aultman said. “They are not screwing around.”

The commissioners also discussed the Regional Opioid Organizational meeting held on March 30. Aultman and Holmes met with Arcanum Police Chief Marcus Ballinger, a 19-year veteran of law enforcement in Sharon Township and the Richwood Police Department near Columbus.

“He’s representing the cities,” Homes said. “He’s a nice young man, very competent.”

Holmes continues to state the opioid organization is a long-term event they are trying to get organized.

“When they kicked all this stuff off over the one Ohio Memorandum, they kind of left a lot of gaps,” Aultman added. “We got to figure out a region, how to handle it, and how to set up.”

He continues to say they are also trying to figure out how to apply for the grant dollars for the counties that are involved. Organizational steps are being calculated for both the regional and county levels.

“There’s only certain items this money can be used for, so this is a process about how the money for those projects fits into these categories,” Aultman said.

This grant money stems from a settlement from a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical companies over opioid epidemics, but some of the settlements are 18 to 30 years by the time it is all paid out.

“Over time, the dollars will be significant,” Homes said. “We need to participate, and the funds are all going towards prevention and rehab from opioids.”

More information will be presented as the commissioners receive it in the near future.

The Darke County Board of Commissioners meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at their office located at 520 S. Broadway Street in Greenville. To contact the office, call 937-547-7370.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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