Highland County commissioners formally signed off on a $10.15 million operating budget for 2019, with commissioner Gary Abernathy commending fellow commissioner Terry Britton for his efforts in bringing everything together on time and on budget.
“Taking the lead on the budget is a lot of work and I’d like to commend Terry and the department heads,” Abernathy said at Wednesday’s weekly commissioners meeting. “It’s a big job to not only work with everybody, but to get it done by the end of the year.”
Britton gave credit for much of the work done to clerks Mary Remsing and Nichole Oberrecht, adding that the complexity of the budgeting process was made easier due to their efforts.
“It takes a team effort,” he said, recognizing as well the cooperation from county auditor Bill Fawley’s office. “Everybody gets along good and works together, and that’s a big help.”
The Highland County Board of Elections made good on its promise of choosing what system and electronic poll books to go with by year’s end, in light of mandated upgrades from the state of Ohio.
Commissioner Jeff Duncan said the elections board saved the county money and opted to upgrade to a less expensive system.
“I think it’s just as good,” Duncan said. “It’s just not as expensive as some of the options they were looking at.”
He praised the board of elections for “taking the initiative” and being concerned with the counties’ financial issues.
Details from the board of elections were not available since the office is closed for the holidays until Jan. 2.
In other matters, following the lead of former commissioner and current state representative Shane Wilkin, Terry Britton accepted an appointment to the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.
Britton said there were nine open seats on the board and he felt that local representation was important.
“Shane represented our area for a long time, and I felt that somebody local should be setting on that board,” Britton said.
Commissioners also approved 15 year-end resolutions, 14 of which were line item budgetary transfers, while the other gave approval to the 2019 budget.
A pair of contracts required signatures, one being a reciprocal agreement to house prisoners between Highland and Meigs counties, and the other retaining the management consulting services of Clemans, Nelson & Associates for future negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police or any other questions pertaining to labor relations.
Also Wednesday, the commissioners said that due to the New Year’s holiday, there will be no commissioners meeting the first week of January.
Instead, commissioners will reconvene for an organizational meeting at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 7 with the first scheduled meeting for the new year set for Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 8:30 a.m.
“We hope everyone had a good Christmas,” Britton said. “We’re looking forward to 2019 coming up, and it’s our hope that it’s a prosperous new year for all of us.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571