August was certainly an interesting month weather wise here in Darke County. It seemed like every day there was either a monsoon, or scorching heat to deal with. The weather and the recess of the legislature in Columbus have certainly been the topic here in the Commissioner’s office. Now that September is here, let’s hope we have a normal fall!
At this time of the year, the Commissioners are busy not only with working on the upcoming budget, but with their other duties and boards they are associated with.
Commissioner Stegall has had several conference calls with the CCAO energy committee on our prices for natural gas and electricity. The committee has done a good job, and we could see some valuable savings this winter. Commissioner Stegall has made several trips to Columbus to the CCAO headquarters to meet with the counties insurance board, CEBCO (County Employees Benefit Consortium). The good news is because of our employees’ health and wellness work, the county’s premium for the year has dropped 0.5%! It is hard to believe insurance premiums can go down but thanks to the County employees who have bought into the program, our rates have done very well the last few years.
Commissioner Rhoades stays busy with his commitments to the EMA and the Communications board. The MARCS system has had some issues, and the board is working on that and the pager issue and soon should have a solution.
Commissioner Aultman has been busy with not only the office, but the fair took a lot of his time with his own children and his work with the Farm Bureau. Matt spent a lot of time escorting and meeting with all the Candidates that appeared at the fair this year.
Of course, no August is complete without the Great Darke County Fair. This year the fair had to suffer through some bad weather, as the tractor pulls had to be cancelled, but overall the fair did very well. The Commissioners met many people from out of State, and they were nice enough to explain how this is their favorite County fair! Thanks to the board for making the fair successful!
The biggest news in August was the re-opening of the Darke County Airport. Sunesis Corporation finally finished their work, and the new runway and jet turnaround look great! The striping was completed too, but in 45 days from the initial striping and painting, the FAA requires that it be done again, to make sure it stays and is seen. That may close the airport for another day, but then we are all set to go for several years. We would like to thank the FAA, ODOT Aviation, Sunesis, and Walls Brothers for a job well done.
The World 100 at Eldora speedway was going to be a recipient of some fly in people to see the race (we had several jets and small aircraft fly in for the event), but it had to be postponed because of the weather. The World 100 will be held next month on October 12th and 13th.
As of now, the main concern is the County Budget. The commissioners and elected officials will work together to figure out a solution to the problem. We would like to stress that this is nothing the elected officials did to bring on the problem. They have done a great job with holding down costs. The problem is the State taking funding from the Counties. Counties find themselves in the extremely difficult position of balancing unprecedented revenue losses with higher costs. This is a result of State policy enacted over the last decade. The loss of the Medicaid managed care organization (MCO) sales tax, severe reductions in the local Government funds (LGF), and the phase out of tangible personal property tax (TTP) have eliminated $351 million per year in county revenue. Casino revenue has nowhere near covered this gap. Some counties are raising taxes; that is not the track we want to take. We will meet with the individual officials shortly and work out at solution.
As this is written, it is pouring rain outside, and we are supposed to get anywhere from 2 to 5 inches! Since it will be so wet next week, why don’t you come to a Commissioner’s meeting? We meet every Monday and Wednesday for public sessions (though we are always open through the week!) at 1:30 p.m. in the Administration building just south of the Courthouse in Greenville. 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.