Highland County commissioners Gary Abernathy, Jeff Duncan and Terry Britton issued a second letter of support for the Highland Area Rural Transportation System (HARTS) committee’s plans of providing the area with more widespread public transportation during the weekly meeting Wednesday.
The request for a second letter of support was necessary, according to HARTS Mobility Manager Joe Adray, since in the original grant rules it was required that a resolution be in place designating FRS Transportation of Highland County as the grantee for rural public transit in the county for a three-year period.
Adray said the organization previously applied for a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Rural Transit Program.
Commissioners approved a resolution with the requested designation, authorizing it to remain in effect from Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2023.
“The paperwork also says that at the end of three years, or any time in that period if there are any problems, the commissioners can withdraw from it,” Adray said. “And at the end of three years, they can either renew it or designate someone else — it’s all a part of their application package.”
Adray estimated that if the grant is approved, HARTS would bring a fleet of small, handicap-accessible buses to both Hillsboro and Greenfield by spring 2020.
As previously reported, the HARTS committee requested around $2 million, which FRS Transportation would match, and the organization would know whether or not its application has been approved by Oct. 1.
Also Wednesday, eight resolutions were approved by the commissioners, five of which dealt with line item budget transfers with another authorizing an increase in dog and kennel registration fees to $14 effective Dec. 1, 2019.
“We talked about this with the dog warden,” Duncan said. “It seems like other counties are a little higher than we are, and there are a couple that are a little lower, but due to increased expenses we decided to do the increase.”
Abernathy echoed Duncan’s comments, adding that Highland County is currently at $12 for dog tags, which he described as being in the median since some counties are at $10 and some at $14.
“It’s been many years since this was raised,” Abernathy said. “And expenses do nothing but keep going up.”
Another letter of support was given for the benefit of Highland County Common Pleas Court, which Duncan said was to aid in its effort to secure grant money for upgrades to the video surveillance system at the Highland County Courthouse.
Commissioners also approved a pair of contracts during Wednesday’s meeting, one being a lease agreement between the Canon Corp. and the Highland County Board of Elections for a copier, and the other with the Highland County Community Action Organization for its home investment partnerships program in low-income residential assistance for home rehab.
Prior to meeting with a representative of MGT Consulting, Duncan encouraged everyone to support the youth of the county by attending the Highland County Fair, which will run Sept. 1-7.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.