Phone conversations with the federal government continue to keep alive a much-delayed federal economic development grant for the Rocky Fork Lake area, and Highland County Commissioner Gary Abernathy said during the commissioners’ regular meeting Wednesday that another round of discussions with Department of Justice officials was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re still trying to see if there is a way to break up this log jam over the conflict of what the grant will allow,” Abernathy said.
One of the conflicts holding up release of funds is what the grant permits versus what the sheriff’s contract with the Fraternal Order of Police allows concerning stationing a deputy at the lake.
“We will keep everyone informed as we trudge along with these ongoing conversations,” Abernathy said.
Hanging in the balance is a multi-faceted federal grant from the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance amounting to about $844,000.
The Rocky Fork Lake Area Safety and Advancement Project has a three-prong objective of economic development for the lake region, in addition to crime fighting and prevention, and the removal of blighted properties.
Abernathy also said that he would attend a meeting of the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission Thursday afternoon at its headquarters in Waverly.
The organization coordinates federal, state and local resources such as grants to an 11-county region in southern Ohio, which includes Highland County.
Also Wednesday, Commissioner Jeff Duncan announced that he, Abernathy and Commissioner Terry Britton would attend an upcoming county commissioners conference in Columbus.
The County Commissioners Association of Ohio and the County Engineers Association of Ohio will host their annual winter conference and trade show at the Hyatt Regency and Greater Columbus Convention Center Dec. 9-11, according to Duncan.
In other matters, progress continues in finalizing the county budget for 2019, with Britton saying everything is on track to have the budget in place by mid-December.
“Everybody has been very, very cooperative,” he said. “We’re blessed that here in Highland County everybody gets along so good.”
Britton also extended congratulations to Duncan for his appointment as vice chairman of the governing board of the South Central Ohio Juvenile Detention Center.
Duncan accepted the position at a quarterly meeting held Tuesday evening in Chillicothe, the main agenda item being approval of the budget for 2019.
Highland County is one of six counties affiliated with the board, which maintains a 36-bed facility near Chillicothe.
In other matters, commissioners approved four resolutions dealing with line item budget transfers.
They also affixed their signatures to a trio of contracts on behalf of the Highland County Airport Authority, Highland County Job and Family Services and the Highland County Sheriff’s Office.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.