Highland County Commissioners hear about adoption; 105 children currently in agency’s care


Board declares adoption month; talks MCO tax plan

By David Wright - dwright@aimmediamidwest.com



Highland County Commissioners Jeff Duncan, left, and Shane Wilkin, right, sit in session during a Wednesday commissioners meeting.


David Wright | The Times-Gazette

Highland County Job and Family Services Director Katie Adams on Wednesday told the Highland County Board of Commissioners that 105 children are currently in the agency’s custody, and the board declared the month of November Adoption Month.

Adams said her agency has surpassed their adoption goals so far this year, having facilitated the adoption of 15 children with one more expected to be approved by the end of the year.

According to Adams, that’s three more children than were adopted last year.

The agency has experienced difficulty in the past with finding permanent homes for children over the age of 5, since families generally prefer to adopt young children But four of the children adopted this year were older than 9, according to Adams.

Currently, Adams said there are 105 children in the agency’s custody.

“We’ve remained steady for about the past year,” Adams said. “We’re still over capacity, but we’re finding ways to make it work.”

For more information on adoption and children’s services, call the JFS office at 937-393-4278.

Several children’s services officials were also present at the meeting for the reading of a proclamation declaring the month of November Adoption Month in Highland County.

In other business, board president Shane Wilkin said a measure to recoup a large portion of the county’s finances from lost sales tax revenues has made its way to the Ohio House of Representatives.

As reported by The Times-Gazette, the county faces an estimated annual loss of $807,000 in sales tax revenue from Medicaid-funded managed care organizations after a federal government directive halted the collection of those tax dollars.

The state legislature and officials in local governments have been working to fill a gap of about $207 million in lost revenue for counties and transit authorities around the state, and most recently, a measure introduced by the Ohio Senate offers “transitional aid” in the form of two cash payments for the affected entities in an effort to cushion the loss.

Wilkin and Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley said Wednesday that the measure is on hold in the House pending further review.

The commissioners recently created a special fund to receive the transitional aid in coming months.

According to commission clerk Rhonda Smalley, Highland County’s total payout will be $1,802,649 divided between the two payments, which Wilkin said will not be enough to cover the county’s losses. Wilkin has said there will have to be budget cuts next year.

The board also discussed an upcoming Christmas decorating and tree-lighting event on the courthouse lawn set for later this month.

Wilkin said the Hillsboro Junior Women’s Club has asked to once again decorate the courthouse, and the Hillsboro High School Student Council plans to place a Christmas tree on the front lawn as it has in the past. The event will take place on Saturday, Nov. 18.

Wilkin said the Highland County Board of Elections needs poll workers for the upcoming election. For more information, contact the BOE at 937-393-9961.

Commissioner Jeff Duncan said new energy-efficient streetlights have been installed at the Hi-Tech Center north of Hillsboro.

Wilkin said the commissioners will discuss the Highland County Dog Warden’s recent request for union benefits with a consultant during upcoming negotiations between the county and the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents the Highland County Sheriff’s Office.

The commissioners also passed routine financial resolutions, as well as a resolution declaring that the unlawful distribution of prescription pain pills has created a public nuisance and caused harm to the residents of Highland County. Wilkin said the resolution opens up opportunities for the county to be more involved in efforts to fight opioid abuse.

Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.

Highland County Commissioners Jeff Duncan, left, and Shane Wilkin, right, sit in session during a Wednesday commissioners meeting.
http://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2017/11/web1_fcommish110117.jpgHighland County Commissioners Jeff Duncan, left, and Shane Wilkin, right, sit in session during a Wednesday commissioners meeting. David Wright | The Times-Gazette
Board declares adoption month; talks MCO tax plan

By David Wright

dwright@aimmediamidwest.com