The Highland County Board of Commissioners proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Dara Gullette, director of the Alternatives to Violence center in Hillsboro, told the commissioners of the progress her organization has made in heightening awareness of domestic violence in the community.
She said the organization raised nearly $8,000 after expenses at their fundraiser last Friday at the Hillsboro Orpheum.
Gullette expressed gratitude for the commissioners’ support of the marriage license fees program, which has been in place for several years, and asked for continued renewal of the support, which she said was due by Sept. 30.
Seventeen dollars from each marriage license fee is earmarked for the center’s domestic violence prevention programs.
“The marriage license fees are an important part of our funding every year, along with our cash match, and without that we’d have to cancel many of our services that we offer in both Highland and Clinton counties,” Gullette said.
Abernathy pointed out that the marriage license fees totaled about $21,000 between the two counties.
A pilot project in conjunction with Southern State Community College designed to educate and increase the workforce in a five-county region that includes Highland County received a letter of support during Wednesday’s meeting.
Abernathy said the GRIT program will release about $4 million annually over the next two years to help overcome barriers to employment such as work training programs and transportation challenges.
“We try to make this a countywide joint project with Southern State as the lead,” he said. “Community Action and, of course, the commissioners, are involved, as is Job & Family Services and Ohio Means Jobs, the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, and Family Recovery Services (FRS) and Highland Area Rural Transportation System (HARTS).”
He indicated that the grant money would be divided between the five participating counties and if successful, could expand to other regions across the state.
Also Wednesday, commissioners approved the renewal of the liquor license for 1st Stop in Rainsboro, in addition to approving an up to $2,100 expenditure for repair improvements to the Highland County Dog Pound by McCoy Plumbing.
Abernathy said the replacement of the water heater and washer, and installation of new dryer venting, was in line with recent recommendations made by volunteer citizens at the facility.
Volunteers have met with commissioners in recent weeks to air their concerns about the dog pound in view of dog warden Cathy Seifer’s departure.
Duncan said that the commissioners will host a meeting with the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission Friday at the East Overlook facility at Rocky Fork State Park and representatives from several counties scheduled to be in attendance.
Britton said Monday’s County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) regional meeting went very well, with 36 commissioners from the southwest region attending.
“We need to make sure we thank Gov. DeWine for what he has done to help with the local governments in the state,” Britton said. “With the changes that he’s made with the state budget, that’s really going to help the local people a lot.”
Abernathy said the recent CCAO meeting was valuable in that it showed that other counties are facing the same issues as Highland County, and could possibly open the door to greater joint cooperative efforts.
In other matters, five line item budget transfer resolutions received the commissioner’s approval, with another authorizing commission president Duncan to submit an application to participate in the Ohio Public Works Commission grant program to secure funding for repairs to the Rolling Acres sewage treatment facility on Mad River Road.
A pair of contracts were approved Wednesday, one being a renewal of a contract between the commissioners, the Family & Children First Council and the Highland County Board of Development Disabilities for the provision of the Help Me Grow program, while the other was a project grant agreement with the Ohio Public Works Commission.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.