By Meladi Brewer
GREENVILLE — The Darke County Board of Commissioners met Thursday to discuss debt payments and FFA achievements. Commissioners Matt Aultman, Mike Stegall, and Larry Holmes were present.
“I am leaving Darke County relatively debt free, and I couldn’t be any happier,” Stegall said.
Aultman said today is a banner day for the simple fact that in 2012 they rebonded the debt in the county in the amount of $7.13 Million for the Wagner Ave. facility. Since then, they have been making some interest and principal payments on the debt, and in 2020 the county was able to pay off one of the three bonds.
“It was $740,000 in debt, of which it was $437,218 was interest savings by paying it off early,” Aultman said.
This year, the commissioners were able to pay two of them off. Today, the money went through for the second half of the second debt. That debt was “$6.93 million of which they paid the final portion of both.”
By paying it off almost 15 years early, the commissioners saved the county $510,407 in interest. Aultman said it was a group effort to pull off this task.
“It was the work of the commissioners, work of the budgeting and appropriations process, work other individuals such as the auditor helping us to balance the budget and making that work, the treasurer, plus all the other departments being conservative on their money to get us to the point where we have some access funds to pay off all the debt,” Aultman said.
Back when Stegall and Aultman first talked six years ago, Stegall advised Aultman he wanted to get Darke County out of debt before he left, and as of today, “aside from a small non repayable EPA loan, the county is out of debt.”
“It was a shot in the dark, but we worked awfully hard – everybody has worked awfully hard to get this done, and it is one of the things I am most proud of,” Stegall said.
This will open up further development within the county without the debt being over their heads.
“We had Lady Justice removed from the Courthouse today,” Aultman said.
The head of maintenance Dale Musser advised it was time for her to be taken down for revitalization because “the wear and weather was taking its toll on the statue”. Lady Justice will be brought back in the spring to look over her usual perch when the weather is nice.
“There is a time capsule up there we are not going to open,” Aultman said. “We just put it up there in ‘91, so we are going to leave it and add to it when we put Lady Justice back up.”
Holmes advised the final form of the engineering study regarding broadband should be received soon in order to continue to move “that topic forward.”
“This will give us something more defined,” Holmes said.
Holmes also expressed his amazement with the Versailles FFA, as they was deemed No. 1 Chapter in the nation. They were named as the Models of Excellence winner.
“We want to commend them for what they have accomplished there,” Holmes said. “The Chapter as a whole, the leadership from Dena Wuebker, the couple of individuals who won individual awards as well.”
There were 70,000 FFA members and supporters that attended the 95th National FFA Convention where the awards were presented, making it the world’s largest youth event.
“I think the word ‘WOW’ is what came to mind when I first saw it. We should recognize that, applaud it, and celebrate it with them,” Holmes said.
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].