July has certainly been an interesting month in the Commissioner’s office! It seemed like every day there was a new challenge to deal with! The weather and the coming recess of the legislature in Columbus have certainly played havoc at times with everyone’s plans. Hopefully things will clear up in the future.
Commissioner Stegall took a young man from CGI, the company who does the videos for our website, around Darke County for an upgrade to the videos done five years ago; it is hard to believe it has been that long! This is in conjunction with an upgrade in progress for our overall website. We will let people know when the videos are posted.
Parades have been the order of the day for the last two months. Weather and good crowds have made these events a lot more fun for the elected officials. Thanks to the Parade committees for always inviting us to attend. If you would like to have the elected officials in your parade, just let us know about a month before your event so we can arrange to have as many as possible attend.
In other news, we have several projects, either starting, in progress, or in final planning stages. The Airport project is in progress, and is moving along as good as possible considering the weather and a few problems with the asphalting part of the project. It seems our July 26 completion date has been moved back a touch due to weather, extra work at the west end of the runway, and problems with the milling of the asphalt. The runway was started with asphalt being laid on July 9. Problems soon ensued with the milling aspect, and that is still being worked on at this time. The FAA specs are very strict and must be followed, and this has caused the delay. The various parties are discussing what their options are. Even though the asphalt is not done, the new Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) lights and electrical upgrades have been installed. Once the milling and asphalt are done, then seeding of the graded areas should complete the project.
The Dispatch center upgrades at the Sheriff’s office is coming along and our conversion to the MARCS system is now complete. We are working on a few minor problems, and they will be fixed very shortly.
We are in the process of moving the Michaels Home for boys into the old vacant County Home. This home will allow young men who have home problems, or other minor problems, to have a better place so our staff can work with them. Some concern has been shown that these young men are troublemakers from other counties. The object of the Michaels Home is to take young men with problems at home and school that are nonviolent. The more violent young men are sent away and not kept here. We have found there is a definite need for such a place that other counties can utilize as well. This will make a perfect place to enlarge and improve on our current facility.
The end of July also sees two of the more attended and anticipated events in Darke County; the Gathering at Garst and Annie Oakley Days. The committees for each event worked very hard to make them a success, and that hard work paid off. Both were fortunate to have great weather and were very well attended. Congratulations to both committees on very successful events!
As we have stated the last couple of months, due to our loss of revenue from the state Medicare Sales tax, we have seen losses of about $60,000 a month. We have been watching this since late last year, so it was expected. This does make things far more difficult for 2019, as we are fine for this year. As of now, our budget has been set at a deficit. The budget is a tool to determine what appropriations are projected to look at next year and in November we do appropriations where we actually let our departments know what they can actually spend. Right now, we have told them to expect a 9 percent reduction across the board for 2019. The legislature in Columbus has seen an increase in their tax receipts and another $657.5 million added to the rainy day fund. With the recent Supreme Court ruling on Sales taxes of internet sales, it is possible we could see some help from Columbus. That would be nice, but we are not holding our breath. We will do what needs to be done, and that does not include raising taxes as many Counties around us have done.
July is over and there was a lot going on, with plenty of things to do with your families and friends. While you are out in August, come into one of our public meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:30 in the afternoon at the Commissioner’s office, 520 S. Broadway in Greenville, just south of the Courthouse. Hope to see you there!
The Darke County Commissioners
The current Darke County Commissioners are Mike Rhoades, Mike Stegall and Matt Aultman. They can be reached at 937-547-7300. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.