At the December 14, 2016 meeting of the Clark County Commissioners, County Administrator Jennifer Hutchinson presented an initial overview for all of the county department directors on the preliminary budget for 2017. According to Hutchinson, the county expects a $1,000,000 loss in sales tax revenues for 2017. Effective July 1, 2017, federal regulators are ending a state sales tax structure that allowed Ohio to collect hundreds of millions of dollars per year in federal Medicaid matching funds. This loss in revenue accounts for a $1 million shortfall in 2017 for Clark County and an expected $3.1 million dollar shortfall in the county budget for 2018. Because of the loss in revenue, Hutchinson asked the departments to cut 3% in non-personnel operating expenses when they submitted their budgets for 2017, which they did.

For 2017, Hutchinson expects to have $3.8 million carryover from 2016. She anticipates approximately $39 million in revenue for 2017 with operating expenses of about $40.4 million. This leaves approximately $2.4 million available for capital/requests. She has received nearly $11 million in requests for 2017 including an $8 million request from the fairgrounds to construct a new multipurpose building. Over the next few weeks, the commissioners will evaluate each request and make a determination as to how to allocate the money available.

Commissioner John Detrick, whose term will expire at the end of the year, made a plea to the new commissioners to fund the Opportunities for Change (OIC) of Clark County at its current level, to continue to support the Dayton Development Coalition, and to support the purchase of a Lucas Tool for the New Carlisle Fire Department. The OIC works to reduce repeat offenders and provide reentry support. He said, “If we can keep them out of jail, we will save both the county and state money. In this case, if you spend the money, you save money in the long run.”

Commissioner David Herier added, “If you provide the support to make offenders productive, the ex-offenders pay child support and taxes and experience fewer drug issues. If there is anything in the budget that will have the most positive impact on our community, the OIC program has the biggest effect.”

The commissioners will work to finalize the budget over the next few weeks.

In other business, Commissioner Richard Lohnes presented Ted Wallace who served as the Director of Veteran Services for 16 years with a proclamation that recognized the outstanding leadership services that he has provided to the veterans of Clark County. The Clark County Veterans’ Office assists veterans in obtaining benefits for which they are eligible. In addition, emergency financial assistance is available for basic living needs on an as needed basis.

According to Lohnes, “Wallace was instrumental in establishing the Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Springfield.” The clinic provides outpatient medical services such as primary care, optometry, mental health counseling, pharmacy, physical therapy, podiatry and laboratory services.

Commissioner Lohnes added, “We would like to present this proclamation to you to honor your leadership in all veterans issues, and your service to our community above and beyond what was required.”

For the Transportation Coordinating Committee (TCC), the commissioner issued a resolution in support of a the designation of State Bicycle Route Three that runs through Clark County into Champagne County. The Ohio Department of Transportation has designed a series of corridors crossing Ohio as designated bike routes. Transportation Planner Louis Agresta explained that there is no cost to the Clark County for the bike route designation beyond the costs for the signs to mark the route and maintenance of the already existing trail.

According to Detrick, “The County has 45 miles of bike trails that attract over 25,000 tourists to the county each year.”

For the Community and Economic Development Office, the commissioners appointed or reappointed members to several boards serving the county. First, they appointed Kenneth Knight and Louise Maurer and reappointed Jo Anderson and to the Clark County Planning Commission. They reappointed John Hays and Pete Lane as full members and Larry Spahr as an alternate to the Rural Zoning Commissioner. In addition, they reappointed Janie Riggs as a full member for the Board of Zoning Appeals. All the appointees will serve terms from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2019.

In regular business, the commissioners approved a payment to Steve McCloskey of $359.12 as a moral obligation for the replacement of a broken rear truck window that was damaged during specialty recycling drop-off. They also approved a payment to the Clark County Combined Health District of $1,605 for the 2015 Annual Vital Stat fees.

In addition, they approved a payment of $44,835 to Arcon Builders, LTD for the Juvenile Court Courtyard Improvement Project and the purchase of a 2008 Ford F-150 from Bill Marine Auto Center, Inc. for $9,715 for the Community and Economic Development Director to use for Zoning Code Enforcement in the City of London.

Furthermore, the commissioners instructed the Clerk to advertise for bids for masonry restoration, roof improvements and window replacement for the A.B. Graham Building and courthouse. The bids are due in the commissioners’ offices by 10:00 a.m. on January 26, 2017.

In addition, the commissioners authorized a contract with Clark County Historical Society for $25,000 to repair/replace gutters, repair the clock tower, and to repair the awning on the facility. The contract is effective December 14, 2016 through September 30, 2017.

For the Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS), the commissioners approved a contract with DataYard, Inc. for $22,223.88 to install fiber internet and provide ongoing service and maintenance effect February 28, 2017 through February 28, 2018.

For the County Engineer, the commissioners authorized a contract with International Union United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW Local 402 to represent bargaining unit employees in the County Engineer’s Department from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2019.

For the Board of Developmental Disabilities, the commissioners accepted two lease agreements for the Board. The first lease is with The Housing Connection of Clark County Inc. for $4320 per year for rental of the premises located at 2422 Sunset Avenue effective January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2021. The Housing Connection provides housing support for individuals with developmental disabilities. The second lease is with Trumpet Behavioral Health, LLC for $3,500 per year for 2430 Van Buren Avenue effective January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2018. Trumpet provides Applied Behavior Analysis treatment for children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and developmental disabilities.

The next meeting of the Clark County Commissioners is scheduled for December 21, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. in the commissioners’ conference room.

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