State of emergency ended

Highland County Board of Commissioners President Jeff Duncan announced Wednesday the end of a state of emergency declared in the county over 400 days ago after the coronavirus pandemic forced the declaration to be made.

“That will be ending today to coincide with the governor’s release of any provisions that are going on,” Duncan said.

It was moved by commissioner David Daniels and seconded by commission vice president Terry Britton that the state of emergency originally declared on March 18, 2020, would end immediately.

In line with the declaration of the end of the state of emergency, commissioners issued a proclamation that saluted essential workers who remained on the job throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We just wanted to take time to thank everybody for all their efforts that they’ve put forth during the past year,” Duncan said. “I know our agencies here in the county worked uninterrupted, and all the county offices remained at work, and we just want to thank all those folks, and everyone else, for what they did for our community.”

Wednesday’s proclamation honored all essential workers in both local government and private business, and read: Whereas, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has led to a state of unprecedented economic disruption in the United States, in Ohio and in Highland County;

“And whereas, employees in health care, grocery stores, post offices, social services, law enforcement, emergency services and emergency communications have been considered essential workers during the pandemic;

“And whereas, the widespread implementation of stay-at-home measures and restrictions on many categories of businesses produced a surge in demand for delivery services, with the effects felt at every link in the supply chain;

“And whereas, essential workers have kept the critical parts of the economy running during the fight against COVID-19;

“And whereas, while many of us were being told to stay home, these workers had a responsibility during the outbreak to continue operations, potentially putting their lives in danger;

“And whereas, many of these employees are at risk of contracting the virus because their essential work means they cannot remain at home;

“Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the said Board of Highland County Commissioners expresses its sincere gratitude to the essential employees who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic.”

Also Wednesday, Daniels reported that the final version of the county sewer use ordinance had been finished and is posted on the commissioners’ website.

“We made one change to it, and that dealt with clarifying that anybody with an outstanding sewer bill would not be granted new service until that outstanding bill was paid,” Daniels said.

He said that people had purchased additional properties and after attempting to develop them, had not paid the bill for sewage service from where they were, and that the change to the ordinance allowed the county to not extend service if they had unpaid bills.

“This allows an opportunity to disconnect service for non-payment of bills, so that cleans up a lot of the old outstanding bills,” Daniels said.

There was also new language that was added that addressed large developments such as large mobile home parks. Daniels said a new billing system was being investigated to keep a better track on who is and is not delinquent on their bills.

“We’ve also had some damage to the system from people who are putting substances through the system that aren’t approved,” he said. “These disposable wipes that they call flushable really are not, and when they get into the system they don’t disintegrate, but they’ll wrap up inside a grinder motor and then burn that motor up, which ends up costing $800 to replace.”

In other matters, two resolutions were approved, one for the S22 Local Coronavirus Relief Fund and the other adopting the Sewer Use Rules for all sanitary sewer systems operated by the county.

Six contracts received commissioners’ signatures Wednesday, two being subsidy grant agreements with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and another two with Paramount Roofing Systems of Leesburg for roof repairs at the Highland County Airport.

Two additional contracts were approved, one with Miller-Mason Paving for resurfacing of county parking lots behind the Fraternal Order of Eagles 1161 in Hillsboro, the High-TEC Center and the Highland County Justice Center/sheriff’s office, and the other with the Board of Developmental Disabilities for the provision of Help Me Grow services coordination.

A second disbursement of funds request was approved for the Ohio Water Development Authority concerning repairs for the Rolling Acres wastewater system.

Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.

Expressing heartfelt appreciation for essential workers, Highland County Board of Commissioners President Jeff Duncan reads a proclamation saluting workers that helped to keep the local economy running during the COVID-19 pandemic. heartfelt appreciation for essential workers, Highland County Board of Commissioners President Jeff Duncan reads a proclamation saluting workers that helped to keep the local economy running during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tim Colliver | The Times-Gazette
Sewer use rules finalized and posted to website

By Tim Colliver