Back-to-School program returns


A back-to-school program from Highland County Job and Family Services has returned, HCJFS Director Jeremy Ratcliff said at the Wednesday morning Highland County Board of Commissioners meeting.

Ratcliff said the program is for Highland County students ages 3-18 and will provide $150 per child. He said that if someone has more than four children, the maximum benefit per family is $600. He said applications began on July 12 and are available until Sept. 2.

A flyer for the program said people could call the office at 937-393-4278 or visit 157 N. High St., Suite 100, Hillsboro, to submit an application for the program.

Ratcliff said the program has returned this year after not being available last year. He said in late winter and early spring, the organization had a COVID-19 impact program that was an “appropriately-timed” program considering levels at the time. However, he said that cases have decreased and the demand for money for the program has decreased. He said because of that, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services gave HCJFS flexibility to use the excess of the money to fund the back-to-school program.

Ratcliff said the timing of the program is working out “really well” and the organization is fortunate to be able to put it together. He also said he wanted to thank Gene Myers and Darlene Ford at HCJFS, who worked hard to get the program set up last week.

Highland County Engineer Christopher Fauber said later in the meeting that he received a call from Beaver Construction, which said it plans to do some work on the dam at Rocky Fork Lake starting in the fall. He said it would probably be about 24 months of work and they wanted to potentially create a Road Use Maintenance Agreement (RUMA). He also said that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources would be heading up the project and thought they would come in off S.R. 753.

In other news, Fauber, concerning the federal road projects discussed last week, said that the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) gave Highland County permission to make corrective estimates. He said corrective estimates are allowed if there is a bust in plant quantities or if there is a “substantial increase in the cost of a material from the time it was estimated to the time it was bid.” He said the county, in this situation, fell into the latter camp.

For the pavement markings aspect of the project, Fauber said he got approval to adjust specific line items for the center line and edge lines, which were previously $1,500 and $1,100, respectively. He said the estimates were changed to $2,000 for the center line and $1,500 for the edge lines. Fauber said if the corrections were made, the new estimate would be $237,055, which would be more than the actual bid submitted by The Aero-Mark Co., LLC.

Regarding the guardrail, Fauber said the bids were still too high for corrective estimates so all of the bids were rejected and engineer’s office will have to change the plans and quantities and rebid the project.

For the pavement aspect of the project, Fauber said the office will ask that bid be approved next week. He said the contractor has to get some Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) contracts approved by ODOT before the bid can be accepted. He said the office previously estimated the pavement to be $130 per cubic yards, but the prices are now closer to $200 per cubic yard. He also said that if the estimate was changed with that new number, the total estimate number would be around $2.6 million, and the bid was actually around $2.4 million.

In other news, commissioner Jeff Duncan said he thought work was finishing up on the old jail. He said they took the chimney down to what was a safe level and then capped it off. He also said he knew they were working on it on Wednesday but also thought they were taking the scaffolding down. Duncan said there are a couple of other chimneys he thought the workers might look at to see if they might need anything while in the area.

The board of commissioners also unanimously reappointed Tonya Sturgill as Highland County’s representative on the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board. Duncan said Sturgill’s four-year term is ending, but that she was willing to serve another one.

“I see no reason not to reappoint her, especially with the work that she’s doing as our representative with OneOhio,” commissioner Dave Daniels said. “So, I think that her reappointment is appropriate.”

In another development, Duncan said he and Nicole Oberrecht, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) project head, met with Mark Baldwin, president of the fair board, to talk about a building proposal the fair board previously submitted.

He said the board submitted a proposal for ARPA funding, and also received $275,000 of State Capital Improvement funds, to upgrade one of the buildings on the fairgrounds. Duncan said they applied for additional funding to possibly roll that into the ARPA funding to make one building and replace three smaller buildings currently on the fairgrounds.

Duncan also said the project is time sensitive because the $275,000 the fair board received has a time limit on it. He said the best thing to do might be to put it out for bid to find what the cost of the building would be and if it might be feasible. He said Oberrecht is taking care of that.

Duncan said that some of the architectural work has already been done and the fair board planned to pick up the cost of that.

Daniels, concerning ARPA projects, said that the commissioners will probably see activity from different engineering firms about projects they were not only considering but also projects organizations asked about for funding. He said they would probably see some of that happening within the next two or three months.

Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin said that the village has its Greenfield Towne Countrie Festival over the upcoming weekend as well as E.L. McClain Day on Sunday. He said the Greenfield Rotary Club is also celebrating its 100th year.

Daniels said he saw the dog pound site Tuesday night and saw stakes are set there, meaning they were starting to get the elevation set. He said the project looked like it was ready to go.

The board of commissioners approved an authorization to execute between the board of commissioners, the Ohio Department of Commerce and the Highland County Agricultural Society for a permit application.

The board of commissioners also approved an AEP Easement and Right of Way on North Shore Drive.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

Highland County commissioners (l-r) David Daniels, Jeff Duncan and Terry Britton are pictured during their weekly Wednesday meeting. County commissioners (l-r) David Daniels, Jeff Duncan and Terry Britton are pictured during their weekly Wednesday meeting. Jacob Clary | The Times-Gazette

Jeremy Ratcliff, director of Highland County Job and Family Services, discusses the return of a back-to-school program. Ratcliff, director of Highland County Job and Family Services, discusses the return of a back-to-school program. Jacob Clary | The Times-Gazette
County road work is being rebid

By Jacob Clary

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