A bus tour of Ohio lake areas comparable to Rocky Fork Lake proved to be “very worthwhile,” according to Highland County Commissioner Jeff Duncan, who was on the tour last Thursday and Friday.
Duncan, along with other county officials and state and federal representatives, went on the tour that took them to Buckeye Lake, Indian Lake, and Grand Lake St. Mary’s.
The bus tour was part of the process a federal grant afforded to fund research and analysis of crime hot spots at Rocky Fork Lake.
As previously reported, a $100,000 grant was awarded to the Highland County Board of Commissioners last year from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Byrnes Criminal Justice Innovation Program. The grant was designed to facilitate the development of a strategic plan to reduce crime at Rocky Fork Lake. When the planning is complete and solutions are identified, the county will apply for an implementation grant to fund the fixes.
LuAnn Winkle, executive director at the Turning Point Applied Learning Center in Hillsboro, was also on the tour, Duncan said. She heads up the Rocky Fork Lake Area Safety and Advancement Plan (RFL-ASAP), a project that resulted from the grant.
At the locales visited last week, Duncan said they were able to speak with officials representing everyone from law enforcement to government, hear what is and is not working for their areas, and share in discussion about the problems all the lake areas deal with.
Along with gathering information, Duncan said, “We made some good contacts. We’re hoping to expand on that” and get a plan for Rocky Fork Lake put together.
In other business, commissioners discussed briefly a network upgrade for the sheriff’s office. It’s an item needed, commissioners said, because EmergiTech, the company handling the 911 system upgrades at the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, is ahead of schedule and the network upgrades at the sheriff’s office are needed for them to move on with 911 system upgrades.
Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins is to review the proposed contract, commissioners said, before approval.
On another matter, commissioners said Collins, as well as the county’s labor relations consultant, are to review the job description for an assistant director at Job and Family Services that commissioners have “narrowed down” from other counties’ job descriptions for the same position, but to fit Highland County.
Commissioner Shane Wilkin said that “some may wonder why we are looking to hire” with the budget issues faced by county agencies. But, he said, “It’s a necessary thing to do. That’s not an easy operation to manage.”
Wilkin has said previously that JFS Director Debbie Robbins, who anticipates retiring next summer, has nearly four decades in with the agency and vast institutional knowledge. Having an assistant director in place would help ease the transition upon Robbins’ retirement and insure that some of her knowledge could be imparted to the assistant director.
A contract was awarded to Miller-Mason Paving for the resurfacing of Homestead Avenue. Two bids for the project were opened at last week’s meeting of commissioners.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.