The Highland County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday established a special fund to receive transitional aid from the state in an effort to recoup the loss of sales tax revenue from Medicaid-funded managed care organizations.
According to a press release from the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, a Senate proposal presented two weeks ago offers transitional aid for counties and transit authorities expecting revenue losses after the federal government prohibited the collection of sales tax revenue from Medicaid-funded MCOs.
“The Kasich Administration along with CCAO and the transit authorities were given until close of business Friday (Sept. 22) to accept or reject the Senate proposal, with no opportunity to negotiate alternative provisions,” the release states. “Given the confines of what was presented, CCAO as well as the transits and the Kasich Administration said ‘yes.’”
Highland County Board of Commissioners President Shane Wilkin said the transitional aid will come in two payments, one in November of this year and another in January 2018.
According to commission clerk Rhonda Smalley, Highland County’s total payout will be $1,802,649 divided between the two payments.
As reported by The Times-Gazette, the annual revenue loss for Highland County is estimated at $807,000. Wilkin said he has been told the transitional aid is an attempt to “try and wean us off” the MCO tax revenue.
Wilkin said during the meeting the funds “should get us through next year,” but budget cuts will have to be made after the funding runs out.
“We haven’t decided where the cuts would be,” Wilkin told The Times-Gazette.
The board voted unanimously to authorize the creation of the County Medicaid Sales Tax Transition Fund.
Also Wednesday, Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner was in attendance to discuss public health topics, reminding the commissioners that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the health department is currently offering flu shots.
Warner said the health department recently finished its Community Health Improvement Plan, which outlines public health in the county.
According to Warner, Highland County has a higher death rate from chronic diseases, such as breast cancer, than most of the state due to a lack of preventative care.
For more information, visit www.highlandcountyhealth.org.
Also Wednesday, Beth Ellis, a Clinton County native who recently announced her candidacy for state representative from the 91st House District, attended the meeting. Ellis said she hopes to make frequent visits to Highland County to learn more about its people and communities.
In other matters, Wilkin said the county is currently working on an economic development project, but was tight-lipped on exactly what it entails.
“We’re hoping for some good news coming out soon,” he said. “It’s a work in progress.”
Commissioner Terry Britton said organizers of the Flags for Forgotten Soldiers display, a collection of small American flags that reminds passersby of veteran suicides, approached him about moving the display to the Leesburg Industrial Park. The commissioners showed no objection. The display moves to a different location in the county every 30 days.
The commissioners also passed a number of routine financial resolutions.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.